ISLAMABAD: A number of civil society organisations have come together to form the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC) which was launched on Wednesday.

The coalition is legally licensed and is funded by the European Union. It will serve as a networking platform for civil society organisations, climate experts, academia, researchers, media, private sector and concerned citizens to exchange ideas, develop synergies and build strategies for effective civil society engagement with policy makers.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid said the civil society plays an important part in policy making, conceptualising mitigation and adaptation projects and their implementation in regards to global warming.

He said the government’s climate change policy and its constituent adaptation and mitigation measures require continuous support from the civil society and also talked about the government’s and the climate change ministry’s success in tackling climate change including the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the Climate Change Bill and the National Climate Change Authority among others.

CSCCC Executive Director Aisha Khan said the coalition was not about rolling out work plans and agendas, but about developing a trend for positive change in the environment. She emphasised on preserving a future where humanity can thrive together with nature on a healthy, peaceful and prosperous planet.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Neil Buhne the civil society can help address issues such as water management and peri-urbanisation.

World Bank Country Director of Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan said the World Bank was focusing on climate change as a priority focus area, wished the coalition the best and ensured it of the World Bank’s support in the development of future climate-friendly initiatives.

Moroccan Ambassador Mohammad Karmoune and French Ambassador Martine Dorance appreciated the role of the civil society in helping the implementation of The Paris Agreement on climate change in letter and spirit.

EU Ambassador Jean-François Cautain said the EU and its member states had been and still were at the forefront in fighting climate change. He said the EU believed that the landmark Paris Agreement can only be implemented if there was a strong buy-in by all stakeholders, politicians, policy makers, businesses and the civil society.

Professor of Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, Dr Tariq Banuri said the people had the power to control the problems in the current age due to advancements in science and technology and they only needed to combine their efforts.

The founding members of the coalition which were hosting the launch are the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Regional Institute of Policy Research and Training, Water Environment Forum, Strengthening Participation Organisation, Pakistan Green Building Council, Society for the Conservation and Protection of the Environment and Mountain and Glacier Protection Organisation.

A news reporter from Pakistan Television was beaten by a government official in Minister Hamid’s entourage during the launch. The official took offence when he was requested to be quiet while the minister was addressing the event.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2017

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