Friday, November 22, 2013

Pakistan moves to make cities more climate-resilient

Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: For Jamal Mujtaba, the news that the Pakistani government has prepared a plan to make Islamabad a model disaster-resilient city comes as a relief.

Mujtaba, a resident of a slum area called Pathan Colony, has suffered damage to his home and livelihood because of frequent heavy rains that swell the streams emerging from the scenic Marghalla Hills to the north-west of the capital, triggering flooding in the city.   “For me any plan to make the city disaster-resilient is the need of the hour,” he says.

Last month, Pakistan’s Climate Change Division unveiled a Climate Change Vulnerability Adaptation Assessment (CCVAA) for the Islamabad Capital Territory to reduce the city’s vulnerability to climate change-related disasters such as flooding, heat waves and landslides.

Drawn up in collaboration with the Pakistan chapter of UN-Habitat, the plan calls for assessing the current climate-resilience capacity of civic authorities and potential partners, collecting data on the vulnerability of the city’s infrastructure and reviewing existing building and energy codes.

“The ... overarching goal of the initiative is to create a platform for debate among relevant government and non-governmental stakeholders on existing planning and (to) devise concrete, viable projects to promote climate resilience in the future city development plans,” said Raja Hassan Abbas, secretary of the Pakistan Climate Change Division, during a meeting on the initiative in Islamabad.

Backers hope the assessment will lead to redesigned infrastructure plans for water, sanitation, roads, health and education, and the improvement of slum areas to make them more resilient to the effects of climate change. The plan also calls for the promotion of innovations in green energy and the launching energy-efficient mass transit....

A street in Karachi, shot by Greg, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: