PESHAWAR: Speakers at a workshop held here the other day underscored the importance of local governments in climate change adaptation and mitigation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The consultative workshop titled ‘Locals governments: legislative framework and institutional capacity for climate change mitigation and adaptation’ was arranged by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation. It was attended by a large number of local government representatives, academics, officials and students.

In his speech, CPDI executive director Mukhtar Ahmed Ali said that local government laws in the country had little about climate change adaptation. However, he said local governments had to play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

He said that local government system was present at the grassroots level in the shape of union council, which had a secretary as well as several councillors associated with it. “This is a huge workforce. They know about local issues as well as ground realities,” he said.

Mr Ali said that LG system should be further strengthened and civil defence department could also be made its part.

Syed Zaheerul Islam, the secretary of local government and rural development department, on the occasion underscored the importance of water reservoirs in the country. He said that Pakistan was one of the most vulnerable countries to the climate change.

He said that one of the challenges being faced by Pakistan was absence of water storage capacity as it had only 87 water reservoirs in contrast to 4,000 in India and 21,000 in China. “Pakistan can store water for only 18 days,” he added.

Mr Islam termed opposition to large water reservoirs an international conspiracy. He said that Pakistan needed water for agricultural purposes.

He said that water storage issue was linked to national as well as food security. He said that since the creation of Pakistan, it was 13th flood that was causing billions of losses in the country.

Prof Sardar Khan briefed the participants of workshop about the climate change and its impact on Pakistan while Moazzam Ali Janjua spoke about the legal framework of the local governments and climate change.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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