Climate change: Food security should be top priority for Pakistan

Published January 25, 2014
Food security should be the top priority for Pakistan in the climate change scenario. -Photo by Reuters
Food security should be the top priority for Pakistan in the climate change scenario. -Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: Experts from various disciplines gathered at the Climate Change Conference in Karachi stressed a dire need for research on the issue in Pakistan as it ranked amongst countries highly vulnerable to the phenomena.

The conference, organised by Habib University, highlighted the urgent need to incorporate climate change adaptation into the national climate policy. The keynote speaker, Dr Bruce McCarl, a disitinguised professor of Agricultural Economic at Texas A&M University, sounded the alarm and advised the government of Pakistan to put a special emphasis on saving it agricultural sector, first and foremost since it was most sensitive to extreme weather.

McCarl, who was also part of the Noble Peace Prize winning team of Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, said, "From agricultural point of view, Pakistan should focus on its most staple crops like Wheat" because food security should be the top priority in the climate change scenario.

Shafqat Kakakhel, chairperson of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) said that Pakistan was prone to natural disasters and was frequently facing an increase in floods, droughts and other extreme events.

Kakakhel also stressed the need for educational institutes to introduce climate change and environment policy in the school curriculum.

Climate change and the role of media was the subject of another important panel discussion at the conference where Rina Saeed Khan, a prominent writer on environment, said in her presentation that though Pakistan was one the lowest emitters of green house gases in the world it remained highly susceptible to the climate uncertainties.

Her presentation touched upon the hurdles of communicating climate change phenomenon to the masses in local languages without losing its impact.

Muhammad Badar Alam, the editor of Herald Magazine, was also of the opinion that there was a serious lack of credible information about climate change as the government departments were often tight lipped about the dissemination of information about the issue.

Alam had a three-point solution to address the situation. Firstly, access to viable information from the institutes and the scientists, secondly, its comprehension from the journalists, and most importantly passing that information to the masses in jargon free language.

Later in a panel discussion director World Wide Federation (WWF), Sindh, Rab Nawaz, stressed upon the need for downstream water in the Sindh delta to keep the mangroves in healthy condition.

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