ISLAMABAD: Though Pakistan is among the most climate risk countries, it seems the authorities concerned have no interest in convening a meeting of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC).

The last meeting of the commission was held in February 2013.

This was revealed during a meeting of the Senate standing committee on climate change here on Tuesday. The meeting was presided over by Senator Mir Mohammad Yousuf Badini.

In reply to a question by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, acting chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) retired Maj-Gen Asghar Nawaz said the last meeting of the commission was held in February 2013.

“It means the present government didn’t convene a single meeting of the NDMC,” Mushahid Hussain said.

The NDMC is headed by the prime minister while the AJK prime minister, the leaders of the opposition in the National Assembly and Senate, ministers of defence, foreign affairs, social welfare, finance and interior, the governor of KP, all the chief ministers, civil society representatives and the chairman NDMA are its members.

The forum is supposed to take key decisions to cope with the growing challenges related to natural disasters.

The acting chairman NDMA told the committee members that the meeting of the commission was slated to be held in May but due to some reasons it could not be held. He said the meeting would be convened soon.

It was also pointed out that the NDMA had failed to form a Rapid Response Force.

The committee was informed that currently there was no fire safety code. The committee recommended that fire safety should be made a part of the building codes.

The meeting also discussed a number of other issues related to the climate change.

The acting chairman NDMA told the committee that the Met Department was facing a shortage of latest technology and there was a need to equip the department with modern gadgets.

Senator Mushahid Hussain called for steps to protect water and wildlife. The committee members expressed concerns over the hunting of birds and animals by Saudi nationals.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid, who is also the incharge of the Ministry of Climate Change, endorsed the points of the committee members and said there should be a ban on the hunting.

“Our foreign policy should not be based on houbara bustard hunting,” he observed.

The meeting was attended by Senators Nuzhat Sadiq, Nehal Hashmi, Samina Abid, Ahmed Hassan, the secretary ministry of climate change and others.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2015

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