Saturday, July 9, 2011

Disaster management can bring Pakistan, India closer

Khalid Khattak in the News (Pakistan): Pakistan and India can come closer through cooperation in disaster management, sharing information on climate change and a joint early warning system for flood and other natural calamities. Disasters not only transform a situation but also create new opportunities as joint rebuilding activities can become a catalyst for building mutual trust.

This was the message of a daylong conference — Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction: Managing Risks, Creating Benefits — under the Young Global Leaders (YGL) Indo-Pak Cooperation Initiative 2011 at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) here on Friday. LUMS, Aman Ki Asha, an initiative of the Jang Group and the Times of India Group, Beaconhouse, Centre for Social Markets (CSM), Norwegian Embassy, Department for International Development (DFID) and The Third Pole organised it.

“The Pakistani Context: Current Best Practice in Climate Change, Natural Resources and Disaster Management,” was the first session of the conference.

Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre’s consultant Michael Renner, giving examples the earthquake in 2005 in Pakistan and tsunami, talked about post-disaster diplomacy, saying disasters could jolt political and social trajectory. Quoting the tsunami 2004, he explained how disasters had led to peace agreements and helped build divides. Shared environmental needs gave way to cooperation, he added. Renner said building early warning networks was good for regional cooperation and it should not be left to official level alone, calling for active involvement of civil society and community in the process.

Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab Director-General Khalid Sherdil spoke about the climate shift and glacial melting zone, saying that Pakistan had become a country with shortage of water owing to climate change over the years. He said India was working on various projects under the Indus Water Treaty unlike Pakistan, which was quite unfortunate. He also informed the house about establishment of 22 model villages by the Punjab government in flood affected areas in south Punjab. The project will be completed at a cost of Rs1.2 billion within a month, he added....

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