KARACHI: Stakeholders at a consultative meeting held on Tuesday discussed in detail a draft of the province’s first climate change policy and shared a number of suggestions that could help prepare a more focused and integrated policy.
The meeting, presided over by Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development Nawabzada Mohammad Taimoor Talpur, was held at the old Sindh Assembly building.
Presenting an overview of the climate change policy draft prepared by Lead Pakistan with the support of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), senior environmentalist Shahid Lutfi said that climate change affected every field and required a multi-sectoral approach.
He emphasised the need for getting the latest update on global warming, its impact on life, environment and resources and moving towards adaptation and mitigation accordingly.
Pakistan, he pointed out, contributed very little to the overall greenhouse gas emissions but remained severely impacted by the negative effects of climate change.
“Being a predominantly agriculture economy and vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, Pakistan has a great challenge of protecting itself from the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said, while mentioning the challenges posed by climate change, including droughts, floods, sea intrusion, heatwaves and cyclones.
The draft, he said, was an effort to mainstream this important subject in infrastructure development and planning, particularly in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of economy.
He also referred to international agreements requiring countries to make progress on climate change and sustainable development and said that there were many examples around the world which had proved that climate-compatible development was very much possible.
Gaps in strategy
The presentation was followed by a discussion in which representatives of non-governmental organisations, environmentalists, government officials and academicians participated and highlighted gaps in the climate change policy draft.
Some participants were of the view that the draft contained old data and had missed out situation analysis as well as important sectors/areas, for instance, Ramsar sites, wetlands, health sector, biodiversity and forestry. It also lacked a strategy on its implementation mechanism, they said.
There was also an opinion that the geographical diversity Sindh boasted of required a region- or area-wise climate change strategy.
Seconding the opinion that the subject of climate change required an integrated approach, the minister said that the government would ensure that a comprehensive policy was prepared keeping in view the province’s high vulnerability to climate change.
“We understand that there are grey areas in the proposed climate change policy and that’s why we have called this consultative meeting,” he said, while directing the staff concerned to set up a subcommittee to rectify the draft and finalise it within two weeks.
Concluding the meeting, Sepa director general Naeem Ahmed Mughal thanked the participants for their feedback and said that this would help finalise an improved policy.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019