Climate Diplomacy Day celebrated in Islamabad with bicycle rally, documentary screening, and speech competition
Diplomats, mostly from European Union countries, environmentalists, and bicyclists of the Islamabad city cycled through the city to mark the annual Climate Diplomacy Day this weekend.
The day kicked off with a cycling rally attended by more than 250 cyclists from the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on a designated route. The symbolic gesture was aimed at raising awareness to decrease the growth of greenhouse emissions by promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation.
The event then moved on to a documentary screening – Our Planet, Our Business – which shed light on the role of businesses in building a sustainable future.
To discuss the impacts of climate change and bring forth practical solutions, a speech competition was also be held on the theme ‘Youth for Climate Action’ amongst students. A total of 30 youngsters from 10 private and government colleges and universities, between 14 to 22 years of age, applied for the competition out of which only 5 were selected for participation. The best young speaker received a cash prize of PKR 25,000 and an acknowledgment certificate by the chief guest.
Androulla Kaminara, Ambassador-Designate of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan said, “The EU continues to reaffirm its steadfast commitment to the Paris Agreement as the essential multilateral framework governing global action to dealing with climate change. While the EU is on track to exceed its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is determined to help raise global ambition and lead the way on accelerated climate action on all fronts. The youth climate movement is a sign of the growing awareness in our societies that climate change is a reality already that requires action today.”
She added that the EU will continue engaging with partners, including Pakistan, to address the common challenge of climate change through a multilateral approach., particularly since Pakistan is ranked as the seventh country most venerable to climate change in the world.
Addressing the event, Mr Malik Amin Aslam, Advisor to Prime Minister Pakistan on Climate Change, who was the chief guest of the event, said that Pakistan annually faces economic losses between USD 6-14 billion solely due to deteriorating climatic conditions. Melting of glaciers in the northern regions of Pakistan could disturb the biodiversity of the entire country and adversely influence climate conditions. “The current government is fully aware of the climate change challenges facing Pakistan and is taking adequate measures to deal with them,” he added.
Rab Nawaz, Senior Director Programmes, WWF-Pakistan said that climate change is a bitter reality that poses a greater threat to our present and future generations. “Pakistan is at risk of climate-related natural hazards as witnessed by widespread rains, super floods, frequent heat waves and temperature rise and incidences of coastal flooding and sea intrusion.”
Nature-based solutions such as large-scale plantation drives, protection of existing forests, promotion of renewable energy and conservation of water resources should be adopted to address this grave challenge, he added.
At the end of the event, all participants signed a pledge wall to show their concerns about the threats of climate change. This demonstrated a commitment to fight the challenge of climate change challenge by planting more trees, conserving water, reducing individual carbon footprints and changing lifestyles.
Each year, the European Union around the world celebrates Climate Diplomacy Day with events held globally to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond. Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social
media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge. These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris in December 2015.