Adaptation to climate change is of crucial importance to whole SA region: Zahid Hamid

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 18 (APP): The adaptation to climate change is of crucial importance to the whole South Asian region, home to over a billion people, where many people are living below the poverty line.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Climate Change ZahidHamid in a side event, organized on the theme ‘Adaptation to Climate Change: National and Sub national Coherence, Coordination and Cooperation at Regional Level.’
The event organised by Government of Pakistan, South Asia Cooperation Environment Programme, and Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development was chaired by the Federal Minister for Climate
Change Zahid Hamid, a press release issued here said. He said that apart from its dense population, the South Asian region is also one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the world. It has faced a multitude of climate induced disasters ranging from glacial melt, sea level rise, drought, cyclones and shifts in rain patterns, especially the monsoon rains. These disasters are not only serious threats to food and water security but they also displace the residents, creating the problem of climate refugees.
“The adverse effects of climate change are of immense concern to Pakistan. Pakistan contributes less than 1% to total annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, it is ranked amongst the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change”, the minister informed the participants.
He highlighted that Pakistan today faced several major risks related to climate change, including glacial melt, variable monsoons, recurrent floods, sea water intrusion, higher average temperatures and higher frequency of droughts. Millions of people are affected and colossal damage is caused on recurring basis.
“These threats pose major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in relation to the country’s water security, food security and energy security and have enormous adverse consequences for all socio economic sectors,” he said.
He also said that to cope with these extreme climate change impacts, Pakistan has developed comprehensive policies and plans that include both adaptation and mitigation measures. We have put in place a perspective plan called “Vision 2025”, a National Climate Change Policy and Framework for its implementation, a National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and a National Sustainable Development Strategy.
He said that Pakistan is perhaps the first country in the world whose National Assembly passed a unanimous Resolution adopting the SDGs Agenda as its own national development agenda. Our Parliament has also become “Green” by converting to 100% solar energy.
He also told the audience: “ We will introduce in Parliament next week the historic Pakistan Climate Change Bill, which will establish a high level, policy making Pakistan Climate Change Council and the Pakistan Climate Change Authority to prepare and supervise implementation of adaptation and mitigation projects in various sectors.”
“All the provinces and regions of Pakistan will be represented on the Council. Implementation of projects will also take place through the Provincial and regional Governments. The provinces are also preparing their own Action Plans, in accordance with the National Climate Change Policy,” the minister said.
He said that the people of Pakistan have shown remarkable resilience in the face of these grave challenges and have courageously adapted to climate change. We are hopeful that with faster economic growth in coming years, especially as a result of projects such as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), economic resilience and social resilience will increase still further and help us to better cope with future threats.
“CPEC is in fact a prime example of successful South South Cooperation which can serve as a model for coordination and
cooperation at the South Asian Regional level also”, the minister said.
He said that the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk
Reduction 2015 30 with its people oriented approach; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change; the Paris Agreement on Climate Change with its adaptation and mitigation measures; the World Humanitarian Summit, with its focus on global humanitarian action, and Habitat III with its emphasis on sustainable urbanization can provide valuable opportunities not only for assessment of each country’s progress in implementation of these global frameworks, but also development of regional initiatives for cooperation.
The links amongst these 5 global frameworks can provide much needed direction and momentum for South Asian cooperation at all tiers.
The other speakers were Prince Mustafa Zahir, DG of National Environment Protection Agency Afghanistan, Dashu Chenchu
Norbu, Secretary of the National Environment Commission, Bhutan,
Joke Schauliege, Minister of Environment, Nature and Agriculture.