Women purchase jute bags from a stall during the conference on Monday. — APP
Women purchase jute bags from a stall during the conference on Monday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt-Gen Mohammad Afzal on Monday said every disaster in the country cost around $2-3 billion.

He was addressing the climate adaptation conference, ‘Climate Resilience – Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)’ organised by Pakistan Humanitarian Network (PHF).

He said Pakistan was facing both human-induced and hydro-meteorological disasters occurring in the country despite its less than 1pc (0.72) green house gas emissions at the global level.

The German Watch Climate Risk Index 2019 report has placed Pakistan in the world’s top five most vulnerable countries due to climate change.

Moreover, poor sewage disposal and lack of liquid treatment would lead to a serious catastrophe of diseases in the coming 20 years, he warned.

Pakistan flagged as one of the countries facing higher vulnerability risk due to climate change, adviser says

Lt-Gen Mohammad Afzal noted that local scientific study of Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) revealed that the temperature in different simulations would rise much higher than global projections from 1.5°C to 2.5°C.

He said active flood plains that would have helped in reducing the flood risks were completely destroyed in the country over the past 40 years. Around 8,000 government officials were trained by National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for disaster resilience and mitigation.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan was flagged as one of the countries facing higher vulnerability risk due to climate change at the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) under UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Madrid, Spain.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) report launched at the forum revealed that Pakistan was among the eight countries to face glacial melting where the country could lose 1/3 of its glaciers due to environmental degradation as these areas were warming faster than the world.

“We launched our Ecosystem Restoration Fund at the COP-25 that was widely recognised with Japan and Germany showing interest to partner in the fund,” he said.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said the prime minister was interested in environmental conservation and climate change, which was evident from the fact that he started his United Nations General Assembly speech with the environmental degradation issues.

She said no agenda, policy and government could survive without civil society collaboration.

The conference also had community members’ interaction session belonging to disaster-hit areas who shared their experiences of disasters and problems being faced due to climate change.

Earlier, Country Director Islamic Relief and Chair PHF Umair Hassan highlighted the core objectives of the conference in his welcome remarks.

He said PHF had consortium of 43 international non-governmental organisations working in the country since 2003.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2019

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