ISLAMABAD: “Global warming continues to unleash devastating impact on various parts of the world but has emerged to be one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan,” said Climate Change Minister Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the inaugural session for the three-day policy workshop on ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs)’, an initiative aimed at making the world carbon-free and leading to sustainable development.

He said that climate change had put Pakistan’s very existence at stake. “Climate change has increased the frequency of flash floods and erratic and torrential rain. Sea levels are rising and glaciers are melting at a faster rate,” he said.

The event was attended by officials from environment, water, energy, forest, health ministries and departments and international and local non-governmental organisations. Climate change experts, environmental scientists, researchers and academicians also attended the event.

The min ister said that although every country was vulnerable to the deleterious effects of climate change, developing countries like Pakistan and Nepal were likely to be worst affected.

Mushahidullah Khan warned that failing to adapt to rapidly changing weather patterns for countries like Pakistan and mitigating carbon emissions would negatively impact sustainable development goals.

Pakistan is reportedly ranked among the 10 countries of the world, most vulnerable to climate change, by the German Watch Index 2014 a climate change think tank.

“Nine out of 10 worst climate change-induced calamities hit Pakistan during the last decade. These disasters seriously damaged the country’s initiatives for socio-economic development and caused loss of life and property worth billions of rupees,” the minister said.

He said the devastating floods of 2010 eroded away six per cent of the GDP.

Participants at the meeting were informed that according to the initial assessment of the Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review Mission of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), climate change-related activities were costing Pakistan five to seven per cent of its annual federal budget every year.

The minister said the world was heading towards The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st session in Paris this year to firm up an agreement where countries would be made responsible for carbon cuts.

MCC Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan said that INDCs had been chosen as the vehicle for national contributions to the international Paris agreement.

The INDCs reflect a country’s contribution to the global effect to reduce emissions in the post-2020 period. Through this three-day workshop, Ministry of Climate Change initiated the consultative process on INDCs, including securing a high-level political endorsement.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2015

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