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Mainstreaming the environment

September 26, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 26: The Ministry of Climate Change launched its policy that provides a framework for addressing environmental concerns gripping Pakistan because of the changing climatic conditions.

In view of Pakistan’s high vulnerability to adverse impacts from extreme weather events, the new National Climate Change Policy particularly focuses on adaptation efforts.

Approved by the federal cabinet on Wednesday, the vulnerabilities of various sectors to climate change have been highlighted and the policy spells out appropriate adaptation measures.

The policy measures address issues of water, agriculture, forestry, coastal areas, biodiversity and other vulnerable ecosystems.

“The policy provides a roadmap for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Pakistan,” said Minister for Climate Change, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, who called a press conference to announce the launch.

According to the minister, the country faced inevitable dangers from climate change, although its contribution to global warming was an insignificant 0.8 per cent.

“Yet Pakistan is in the top ten most vulnerable countries from extreme climate change events in the world,” said Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, who is Advisor Meteorology and Climate Affairs and mastermind behind the policy.

Dr Qamaruz Zaman said that the key goal of the policy was to ensure that climate change was mainstreamed in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development.

Through the meeting it was learnt that all relevant national and international stakeholders, including provincial governments were taken onboard for consultation on the draft of the climate change policy.

Stakeholders’ inputs were incorporated to make the draft policy a viable and comprehensive roadmap for addressing unfolding dangers of global warming in the country.

Explaining the policy, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan said: “Erratic and unpredictable changes in weather patterns, caused by global warming, have resulted in floods, torrential rains, cyclones, land erosion and droughts, which are increasingly becoming frequent and causing massive loss of life and property.”

The sub-objectives included enhancing awareness, skill and institutional capacity of relevant stakeholders, strengthening inter-ministerial and inter-provincial decision making and coordination mechanism on climate change.

Secondly, the policy emphasised on mitigation, particularly integrating climate change policy in energy and transport sectors to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions.