Experts at Climate Change Adaptation seminar urge Government to introduce Climate Smart solutions and facilitate vulnerable communities in disaster risk reduction and adaptation
ISLAMABAD – Recurrent floods caused by increased rainfall or GLOF (glacial lake outburst flood) in the Upper Indus Basin (Northern Pakistan) have severely impacted lives and infrastructure of vulnerable communities in recent years.
The urgent situation calls for swift practical implementation of climate change policy by training and facilitating communities in disaster risk reduction for adaptation to climate change, experts urged at a seminar held on Thursday.
Dr. Qamar-uz- Zaman Choudhry, currently Vice President, World Meteorological Organization and the lead author of National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) and Framework for Implementation of NCCP was also present at the seminar.
“Climate change is considered to be one of the biggest development challenges as world is facing food insecurity due to water scarcity with depletion of natural resources,” he highlighted focusing on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation especially in the mountainous region of Northern Pakistan inhabited by most vulnerable to climate change.
The seminar on Climate Change Adaptation held in Islamabad was organized by Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) where climate Change experts, representative of ministry of climate change, researchers, scholars, media and community representatives shared their papers and experiences on impacts of climate change Adaptation.
In his presentation, Sayed Amjad Hussain, Climate Change Expert emphasized the need to tap global resources. He shared that “Pakistan is eligible to benefit from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to access the international resources to mitigate climate change impacts and resources for interventions in hydropower and Green Sector for Gilgit –Baltistan and Chitral”.
Pakistan should introduce Climate Smart Solutions in securing sustainable development for future generation by reducing poverty and strengthening hazard resilience lead community initiatives, suggested Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer of FOCUS Pakistan. She added that Pakistan is among the list of top ten vulnerable countries, exposed to disasters due to lack of collective efforts across the board.
Nusrat Nasab called on all the stakeholders to act now as recurrence of disasters is alarming due to incandescence’s of heat waves, melting glaciers, floods, droughts and the intensity of windstorm. “AKDN’s ongoing work to strengthen community resilience in a variety of sectors including community-based disaster risk management, community-managed hydro-electric power, energy-efficient household products and millions of trees planted in the Northern Pakistan are best examples for strengthening collaborations in public-private partnership in climate change adaptation and mitigation”.
When the climate terminologies became little overwhelming for participants, Khadija Jamal Shaban, Chairperson of FOCUS Pakistan, explained ideas in a simple manner: “Let us not be bogged down by terminologies. The fact of the matter is due to the impact of Climate change and global warming, pressure on the eco-system is increasing exponentially and in turn affecting communities quality of life. Issue is now of survival and establishing coping mechanisms to recover fast from disasters which are on the rise as a result. As an NGO our reach may be limited but our goal most certainly is not.”
The seminar was a part of a project “Reducing Climate Change Impact on Vulnerable Communities in Northern Pakistan” undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).
“We are delighted to share that within limited resources in diverse climate challenges, our team reached the most vulnerable areas of Thoi, Immit, Chupurson and Yarkhoon in Gilgit and Chitral and had developed climate-induced hazard and risk maps, organized Village Emergency Response Teams (VERTs) and established new and replenished existing community stockpiles so that the communities living in these areas are prepared for unexpected climate induced hazards” informed Lal Khan, Project Coordinator, FOCUS.
Tariq Mehmood, senior journalist, said that Pakistani media has played a main role in highlighting national disasters and urged climate change stakeholders to approach media for depicting the impact of climate change in the remote areas.
The seminar concluded with these recommendations and way forward:
- Re-positioning of climate change action plan with focus on applied research, community outreach and engaging academia in research studies.
- Mass awareness through involvement of media by conducting awareness raising programs, sensitization of climate change issues and its impact on communicates living in the disaster prone areas.
- Educating parliamentarian at regional and national level.