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Pakistan standing with the global community against climate change: PM Abbasi

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Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan remains committed to playing its role in the global struggle for countering the issue of climate change.

Addressing the Global Change Impact Studies Centre’s (GCISC) Climate Change Conference in Islamabad, PM Abbasi said Pakistan had complied with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015 and is following the principles therein to cut down the greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.

The Premier also said that climate change has turned out to be one of the biggest challenges for the global order and has united the international community for action against its hazards. The three-day international conference on climate change is expected to attract more than 140 scientists from all over the world to present their latest research papers.

The ministry of Climate Change has established units all provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and FATA regions to set up strategies for reducing losses due to environmental changes.

More than 200 stakeholders from various groups, government officials, businessmen, civil society members, media persons, lawyers, parliamentarians and affected communities have registered themselves for participation in the conference to share their views and experiences.

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The event will provide an initial mapping of efforts being undertaken to alleviate the impacts of climate change, assessment of knowledge and capacity needs and priorities that better reflect the Pakistani development context, and a stimulating environment with the intention to yield innovative ideas and grounds for implementation.

The assemblage will highlight the need for improved climate-related research and information for Pakistan, as well as help prepare policy recommendations to address climate change challenges affecting the country’s development, promote coordination among researchers and institutions working on different aspects of climate change in Pakistan, and facilitate their collaboration with international scientists and experts engaged in research activities.

Pakistan has suffered economic damages of around 25-27 billion dollars due to climate change-related disasters between 2010 and 2016, most of them floods, sea intrusion and heavy rainfalls/cloudbursts. 

According to a UN Climate Watch, Pakistan is among the top ten most affected countries on the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI, 2016), and currently faces a number of climate-related challenges, including rising temperatures, unpredictable changes in precipitation patterns, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, recurring droughts and floods, groundwater pollution, rising sea levels, potential for heightened conflicts over water rights between riparian regions, increased health risks due to changes in disease vectors, environmental degradation, especially of water-related ecosystems, declining agricultural productivity, and governance issues associated with these stresses.

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To pitch in our share, the Government of Pakistan has set a target of planting 100 million trees till 2021 under Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme. As of now, more than two million trees have been planted in the country with the help of provincial forest departments, an official of the ministry of Capital Admiration and Development Division (CADD) said. 

Forests can retard floodwater flows by 72 hours, besides that forests are also important to mitigate climate change impacts, particularly floods, he told a publication. Currently, he added, forests on 27,000 hectares chopped annually in the country. If this speed of deforestation continues the severity of impacts of climate change has been increased in the shape of floods, heat waves, dust storms, urban flooding, land erosion and landslides and, health problems. 

The Premier also said that climate change has turned out to be one of the biggest challenges for the global order and has united the international community for action against its hazards.

Presently, 4 to 5 percent of the total area of Pakistan or 3.2 to 4 million hectares area is under a forested area. Pakistan has been ranked the 7th most affected county among the 135 countries in world because of climate change disasters from 1996 -2015, according to the German Watch Index, an official of ministry of climate change informed a publication.

Between 1996 and 2015, Pakistan suffered 133 different disasters because of climate change, the German Watch Index, he said. Pakistan has suffered economic damages of around 25-27 billion dollars due to climate change-related disasters between 2010 and 2016, most of them floods, sea intrusion and heavy rainfalls/cloudbursts. 

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Damages occurred to public infrastructure, agriculture and irrigation network, health and education facilities. According to Climate Change Ministry reports, he added, Pakistan requires 700 to 1400 billion rupees annually to deal with climate change impacts, particularly in the agriculture, energy, transport, infrastructure, irrigation network, health and education sectors. 

The Pakistan government is presently spending 2.1 percent of its Gross Development Product annually on climate change-related projects, he stated. The ministry of Climate Change has established units all provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and FATA regions to set up strategies for reducing losses due to environmental changes. He explained that provinces have made climate change risk reduction plans in water, energy, agriculture, irrigation and health sectors to make these sectors climate-safe.


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