Friday, March 14, 2008

Pakistan lagging in climate change adaptation

The Post (Pakistan): With stakeholders agreeing on the need for introducing climate change adaptation measures, a dialogue held Thursday concluded that poor implementation of environmental policies was causing more than a 5 percent annual loss to Gross Domestic Product.

The stakeholders said options for climate change adaptation measures in Pakistan were very limited. The consultation on 'Climate Change Mitigation and Adoption Options in Pakistan,' organised was attended by more than 40 stakeholders from different sectors including the government, media, industry, academia and civil society. The consultation was part of its Pakistan-specific programme on climate change. This was the last of the series of consultations organised by the Leadership in Environment and Development (LEAD) in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar where key findings from the previous events were presented.

The consultation called for on the Government of Pakistan to invest in weather-resistant crop varieties and farming technologies. It was also pointed out that 35 percent of irrigation water was lost due to seepage and mismanagement.

Harnessing alternative energy resources to help deal with the energy crunch, establishing mass public transport systems and increasing forestation and reforestation were also discussed.

Urging unfolding immediate adaptation strategies for high risk groups in coastal areas, the forum stressed the need for enhancing knowledge about climate change implications for more accurate projections of probable impacts. It also laid emphasis on recognising the role of the industrial sector in addressing the climate change challenge.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Climate Change, Dr Ashfaq Hussain said the government had worked out confrontational policy on climatology as there was not a single department which could teach climatology in Pakistan.

He said more investment was needed for promoting climatology. There is not even a single department or university to teach climatology or provide technical facilities in Pakistan, which shows lack of technical experts and data, he added.

…Earlier in his welcome address, LEAD CEO Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said Pakistan should not ignore the issue. "The economic cost resulting from climate change, environmental degradation and global temperature has touched 6 percent in terms of the GDP. Climate change is a major impediment to development," he bemoaned.

Pakistan map from CIA Factbook, Wikimedia Commons

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