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Steps urged to reduce climate change impact in northern Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Climate change experts, representative of ministry of climate change, researchers, scholars, media and community representatives shared their papers and experiences on impacts of climate change adaptation at a seminar here.

The experts agreed to have practical implementation of climate change policy where emphasis on ensuring actions to minimize the occurrence of climate-led disasters, training and facilitating communities in DRR and emergency response, and also to diversify and improve income levels of vulnerable groups so that they can absorb the climate shocks or any other disaster.

The seminar was a part of a project “Reducing climate change impact on Vulnerable communities in northern Pakistan” undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).

Guest of honor, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Choudhry, currently Vice President World Meteorological Organzation and lead author of National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) and Framework for Implementation of NCCP, said “Climate change is considered to be one of the biggest development challenges as world is facing food insecurity due to water scarcity with depletion of natural resources. He emphasized focus on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation especially in the mountainous region of Northern Pakistan inhabited by most vulnerable to climate change.

In her welcome address, Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, emphasized the fact that “Pakistan is among the top 10 vulnerable countries exposed to disasters due to lack of collective efforts across the board. In addition, she highlighted the need to introduce Climate Smart Solutions in securing sustainable development for future generation by reducing poverty and strengthening hazard resilience lead community initiatives.

She called on all the stakeholders to act now as recurrence of disasters is alarming due to incandescence’s of heat waves, melting glaciers, floods, droughts and the intensity of windstorm. AKDN’s ongoing work to strengthen community resilience in a variety of sectors including community based disaster risk management, community-managed hydro-electric power, energy-efficient household products and millions of trees planted in the Northern Pakistan are best examples for strengthening collaborations in public-private partnership in climate change adaptation and mitigation”. “Let us not be bogged down by terminologies.

The fact of the matter is due to the impact of Climate change and global warming, pressure on the eco-system is increasing exponentially and in turn affecting communities quality of life. Issue is now of survival and establishing coping mechanisms to recover fast from disasters which are on the rise as a result. As an NGO our reach may be limited but our goal most certainly is not” shared Khadija Jamal Shaban, Chairperson Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan.

“We are delighted to share that within limited resources in diverse climate challenges, our team reached the most vulnerable areas of Thoi, Immit, Chupurson and Yarkhoon in Gilgit and Chitral and had developed climate induced hazard and risk maps, organized Village Emergency Response Teams (VERTs) and established new and replenished existing community stockpiles so that the communities living in these areas are prepared for unexpected climate induced hazards”.

Lal Khan, Project Coordinator, FOCUS In his presentation on the topic, Sayed Amjad Hussain, climate change expert, emphasized the need to tap global resources and shared that “Pakistan is eligible to benefit from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to access the international resources for mitigate climate change impacts and resources for interventions in hydropower and green sector for Gilgit–Baltistan and Chitral.”

Tariq Mehamood, senior journalist, added that Pakistani media has played a main role in highlighting national disasters and for future, climate change stakeholders need to approach media for depicting impact of climate change in the remote areas. He vowed to offer his professional advice to climate change practitioners.

The seminar ended with recommendations and way forward, Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan thanked all the participants and shields were presented to the presenters, key note speaker and guest of honor. The following are major points from the concluding declaration of Seminar on Climate Change Adaptation.

Repositioning of climate change action plan with focus on applied research, community outreach and engaging academia in research studies · Mass awareness through involvement of media by conducting awareness raising programs, sensitization of climate change issues and its impact on communicates living in the disaster prone areas. · Educating parliamentarian at regional and national level. It is important to note that every year FOCUS Pakistan arranges national level seminars and conference on this theme and has recently completed a research study on impacts of climate change on the vulnerable communities in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral which concludes that “Climate Change is a creeping disaster and hunger multiplier.”

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