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Indigenous efforts needed to combat climate change: Malik Amin Aslam

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ISLAMABAD: Malik Amin Aslam, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change said that while climate change poses a major threat to Pakistan, there is recognition that we will have to be at the forefront of adaptation and mitigation efforts rather than rely solely on potential financial assistance from the developed world.

He was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Road to Katowice: Setting Pakistan’s Agenda for Climate Negotiations at 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24)’, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Thursday.

Malik Amin said that for Pakistan climate change is a reality that we are living with. In order to adapt to climate change, we can plan our infrastructure properly to avoid the threats of climate change. We are working on climate mitigation, where forestry is major areas. After success of billion tree tsunami, we are heading towards big task of planting 10 billion trees, which will help mitigate the negative implication of climate change, he added. He said that we have good stories to tell the world in forthcoming COP 24. Success of COP 24 would be a major challenge amid global politics around climate change.

Ambassador of Republic of Poland in Pakistan, Piotr Opaliński said that climate change is the most important issue that human kind is facing. He said the government of Poland is very much aware of the differences of developed world in climate negotiations, which is the challenge is to manage and facilitate. We encourage and invite the Pakistani community and civil society to participate in COP24, he added.

Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI highlighted the need for technology transfer and appropriate mechanisms for financial assistance to countries most at risk from the impacts of climate change. He said that Pakistan need to highlight local initiatives undertaken as part of adaptation and mitigation efforts during climate negotiations.

Former Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, Chairperson Board of Governors, SDPI said that Pakistan has ceased to be a significant player in global climate negotiations in recent years.  This, he said, was due to the lack of capacity within the negotiating team, as experienced members were transferred out rather than being retained. He argued that the government can overcome this problem by relying on and utilizing the expertise within the civil society apparatus and making it a part of the negotiating team.

Rina Saeed Khan, an award winning environmental journalist said climate change was resulting in sea level rise which was affecting the lives and livelihoods of fisherfolk living in the Indus delta. She said that there is a lot of damage to sapling of tree in Bunir Chitral of billion tree tsunami project due to water scarcity, which require urgent attention. She said that evidence on the ground shows the linkage between militancy and climate change in Balochistan, where climate change impacting the livelihood and the youth is indulging in extremist activities. She said that the government needs to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle climate change.

Dr. Imran S Khalid, Research Fellow, SDPI said that a recent scientific study by Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) shows that the business as usual approach will take us beyond the 3 degree mark which will be catastrophic, especially for the most vulnerable nations such as Pakistan. He said that there is urgent need to mitigate the impacts of climate change so that the global rise of temperatures could be limited to 1.5 degrees.

Kashmala Kakakhel, Climate Finance Expert said that one of the greatest successes of COP21 was Paris agreement, where the developed world pledged to contribute 100 billion dollar by 2020 in climate finance. She lamented that until now only around 6 billion dollar has been made available in climate finance fund, which is negligible. There is no clarity around the climate finance, as there is no commitment from the developed world. One of the major challenges of COP24 would be the commitment of international community to climate fund, she added.

Dr Fahad Saeed, Regional Climate Scientist, Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany said that according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require drastic and unprecedented measures at all fronts of society. He said that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degrees Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and growing food insecurity and water scarcity. Heat-waves in metropolitan cities like Karachi would prevail every year if temperature of the globe continue to rise. There is dire need of educating the communities through media, which is now we are lacking, he added. Says in press release

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