Dr. Mubeen Adnan, Fakhara Shahid
In the environmental change context, Pakistan in the past few years has made concrete planning and devised many policy initiatives and, significantly, the nation is gearing up for an official climate change approach. Prominent examples of this are the submission of National Communication to the UNFCCC in 2003, and the foundation of Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change, that basically is a group for annual monitoring of weather change patterns and giving policy guidelines.
Additionally, the Planning Commission ws given the task to formulate National Plans for nation’s primary economic sectors. In October 2008, the government formed a Task Force on Climate Change with the responsibility to prepare a viable climate change policy. In 2010, the Task Force came up with its final report, which sketched Pakistan’s approach to tackle the environment change problem from both adaptation and mitigation point of views. It also suggested important adaptation actions in major socio-economic areas. Adding to it were different approaches for various sectors. Prominent among them were National Water Policy, National Environmental Policy, National Conservation Strategy and National Forest Policy, which also highlighted the possible consequences of climate change.
Pakistan has endorsed all international actiona taken regarding climate change, including the approval given to all declarations of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) on climate change, which includes the 2010 Thimphu Declaration. The severe floods of 2010 impelled the country’s policy makers to devise a national course of action concerning climate change. For this purpose, Pakistan is making concrete efforts to acquire funds from the international sources, primarily from the United Nations (UN). One instance in this perspective is the September 2010 meeting at UN General Assembly, when Pakistan’s Foreign Minister stated, “Climate change, with all its severity and unpredictability, has become a reality for 170 million Pakistanis. The present situation in Pakistan reconfirms our extreme vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change.”
In 2018 Pakistan with the help of UNDP launched a project of US$37 million for the benefits of the people who were extremely affected by the challenges of climate change. Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a five-year project for the most vulnerable communities of Gilgit-Baltistan and KPK. The purpose of this project is to help the Pakistan to achieve its objectives of sustainable development goals and to end poverty and hunger till 2030. More than fifty percent beneficiaries of the projects are the women community of Pakistan, which will lead to help the removal of gender inequalities faced by Pakistan.
Strategies to cope with climate change
- Climate change is a serious issue in contemporary era. To avoid its hazards it is essential to communicate and to give awareness to the public. People are not giving enough importance to climate change. By using media strategies it should be informed to the masses that there is risk in “do nothing” options. Targeted audiences for this purpose include: General public, Farmers, Fisher Folk, Vulnerable communities, youth, disabled people, school going children, Policy Makers, Opinion leaders, Researchers, Civil Servants and Business community. Communicating tools for this purpose include reading material, promotional material, phone call, SMS, face to face and personal talk, online, audio visuals, documentaries, talk shows, Music and Curricula etc.
- Competent policies regarding mitigation and adaptations should be adopted. A community should be created which should provide information regarding the mitigation and adaptation of the climate change. Quality information should be used for this purpose.
- Toxic emission is the main cause of climate change. This must be cut down to the minimum. Public transport should be used rather than to use private cars. Hybrid vehicles have a lower rate of emission, so these should be used.
- Use of fossil fuels should be discouraged as these are the major contributors to degeneration of the environment. Instead, alternative energy resources such as wind, bio, hydro and solar energy should be used.
- Good governance is at the center of the issue. All possible solutions will be workable only if government designs efficient implementable strategies. Policies regarding adaptation and mitigation should be framed on priority basis and implemented in letter and spirit.
- Construction of dams to address the water problem in Pakistan is essential along with taking action to enhance the life of existing storage facilities.