KARACHI: Federal Minister for Climate Change and Environment Senator Sherry Rehman has stated that climate change is catastrophic for all the world’s ecosystems, including humans.

“What went on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan. It is the need of the hour that we respond to climate change proactively,” she said while speaking at the second day of the ongoing Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference (PIMEC) on Saturday.

The conference, which is under way on the sidelines of multinational maritime exercise Aman-23 at the Karachi Expo Centre, is being organised by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) on the theme of ‘Embracing Blue Economy — Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Countries’.

The conference is also being attended by international and national scholars from China, Germany, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the UK and the US. A majority of international scholars are also joining the conference online.

“Bombing and other methods of modern warfare directly harm wildlife and biodiversity. Pollution from war contaminates bodies of water, soil, air and makes areas unsafe for people to inhabit. Therefore, states must pursue peace,” Ms Rehman said.

Naval chief Niazi says Aman-23 demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment to peace

She said that oceans were the largest carbon sinks in the world and the turning to blue economy model was the key. “Oceans have absorbed 90 per cent of global warming in the last 50 years. Microplastics have made the situation worse and are choking the oceans. The entire marine life is ingesting plastic,” she pointed out.

She further said that it was predicted in 2050 that there would be more plastics in the ocean than marine life.”It is high time that we stop using plastic in all forms and shift to a plastic free lifestyle,” she said, adding that there was a need to invest in decarbonisation.

She recalled that the country had suffered from the wrath of climate change “despite being the lowest emitter of carbon”.

“We are seeing climate change impacts crossing borders and wreaking havoc, whether it’s hurricane Fiona that has hit Puerto Rico, children starving in Somalia from protracted drought, Nigeria battling floods like never before and the forest fires and heatwaves in all of Europe and USA,” she said.

“Global warming is triggering similar futures of climate distress, driven either by famine, drought, or flooding and rising sea levels which stalk the developing world, the Horn of Africa, the LDCs and the Small Island States, where the gap between needs and resources is too huge,” she said.

Talking about the Living Indus Initiative, she said: “Living Indus is an umbrella initiative and a call to action to lead and consolidate initiatives to restore the ecological health of the Indus within the boundaries of Pakistan, which is most vulnerable to climate change. Extensive consultations with public sector, private sector, experts, and civil society led to a ‘living’ menu of 25 preliminary interventions, which focus on nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based adaptation approaches to protect, conserve, and restore natural, terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems in the Indus Basin.

“Pakistan is consistently ranked as among the 10 most vulnerable countries to the effects of global climate change, mostly of the impacts on the Indus system,” she said, adding: “Climate change, for Pakistan, is primarily a water challenge.”

‘Floating solar system can expand blue economy avenues’

Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh on Saturday said that the importance of generating green environment-friendly energy was increasing rapidly in view of climate change.

This he said while talking to the media after visiting the stall set up by the energy department at the PIMEC.

“The energy department will cooperate to develop offshore wind projects near coastal areas,” he said and added that floating solar energy would be created for economic development of the country.

He said that the energy department wanted to work with Pakistan Institute of Oceanography to develop floating solar projects in coastal areas. “Floating solar systems and offshore wind projects can expand blue economy opportunities through affordable energy,” he added.

“This kind of conference will give Pakistani products worldwide recognition and the country’s foreign exchange reserves will increase tremendously,” he added.

Naval chief visits ships of foreign navies

Also on Saturday, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammed Amjad Khan Niazi visited ships of the foreign navies participating in the 8th multinational naval exercise Aman-23.

Upon his arrival on board foreign visiting ships, the naval chief was warmly welcomed by senior officers/ commanding officers before presenting him with a guard of honour.

During the visits, the naval chief interacted with the officers and was given briefings on board the ships.

He highlighted that Pakistan is effectively contributing to peace and stability in the region.

“Aman Exercise demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment to peace, reinforces regional maritime security and enhances interoperability between regional and extra-regional navies,” he said while appreciating their participation in the exercise to fulfil the common resolve of ‘Together for Peace’.

The senior officers/commanding officers of the respective ships highly acknowledged the persistent efforts of the PN to bring global navies towards a shared commitment of maritime peace, stability and lawful order at sea.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2023

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