HomeDiplomatic CornerPakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

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PARIS, Jun 11 (APP): The Embassy of Pakistan in France and Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, along with environmentalist and filmmaker Luc Hardy, organized an event “Glacial Shift: Unveiling Pakistan’s Unique Climate Challenge” at UNESCO Headquarters.

A documentary “Ice Giants: Discovering the Karakorum” produced by Luc Hardy and directed by Bertrand Delapierre on Pakistan’s magnificent glaciers and the way those icy giants were responding to global warming was premiered.

It was followed by an interactive panel discussion comprising renowned experts in the field including Valerie Masson-Delmottee, paléoclimatologist, Patrick Wagnon, glaciologist, Fanny Brun, glaciologist together with Luc Hardy and moderated by famous journalist Francois Carrel.

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

The event was attended by a large audience from all walks of life, including Permanent Delegates/Ambassadors, climate change experts, environmentalists, mountaineering enthusiasts, researchers, think tanks, students, media and general public.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador/Permanent Delegate Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the impact of global warming on glaciers and to identify concrete steps to safeguard these icy giants for future generations.

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

He noted that glaciers across the globe were retreating in every region – from Alaska to Europe to Andes to Asia – with severe consequences for populations and ecosystems, and  aggravating the risk of natural disasters and food security.

While many glaciers in the Karakoram were behaving differently in gaining mass,  known as the Karakoram Anomaly, the threat posed by global warming was real and imminent, that required committed and collective response of the international community for effective fulfillment and implementation of the climate obligations.

Elaborating on the policies and actions, he noted that Pakistan has invested significantly in understanding and monitoring our glaciers, established state-of-the-art early warning systems for glacial lake outburst floods, safeguarding communities and infrastructure.

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

He proposed actions including the usage of scientific research and data at sub-regional and regional level; promoting international collaboration for sharing knowledge and expertise among different regions; and engaging local communities for grass root conservation efforts and enhancing adaptive capacities to combat climate change.

He added that this was an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and innovation, and to showcase how countries could adapt to the changing climate while fostering sustainable development, economic growth, and social wellbeing.

The chief guest Vera El Khoury, Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board, welcomed Pakistan’s proactive approach on climate change and appreciated its national environment policy.

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

She remarked that this event was a stepping stone for the International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation’ in 2025 and urged the countries to come together to limit the global temperature rise and protect future generations from the consequences of climate change.

During the panel discussion, Patrick Wagnon explained that climate change had the potential to interrupt the natural life cycle of glaciers, such as rate of melting and freezing, making it harder to predict the outcome.

He added that there was an urgent need to inform the local communities about glacial lake outburst flooding since glaciers had become unpredictable around the world.

Pakistan embassy, filmmaker Hardy co-host event to highlight climate change, glacial melting

He further clarified that the ‘Karakorum Anomaly’, as portrayed in the documentary, did not mean that the glaciers were not melting at all. In reality, glaciers were melting but at a much slower pace as compared to the rest of the world.

He also drew comparison between Asia and Alaska in terms of reaction of glacial mass to global warming over the years.

Valerie Masson-Delmottee stated that the evidence of human contribution in causing global warming was scientifically proven and there was a pressing need for drastic actions at all levels to achieve net zero. She mentioned that South Asian countries were facing record temperatures this year, and this would result in massive glacial melt in the region, thereby, increasing the risk of flooding.

Fanny Brun explained the impact of glacial loss on hydrological ecosystem of the Indus Basin and Pakistan. She mentioned that Pakistan had a wonderful climatology, but climate change was negatively impacting the seasons, agriculture and crop yield.

She also warned that this would not be limited to Pakistan and would go beyond the borders in South Asia, thereby; a collective action was needed at the earliest before it was too late.

The panel discussion was followed by a question-answer session with the audience.

The event served its objective of raising awareness about climate change and the need for concerted climate action in accordance with international obligations.

The event was also an opportunity to portray the scenic mountains and beautiful glaciers of Pakistan, which is already well known to the alpinists and high mountain climbers from around the world.

Pakistan is home to over 7000 glaciers, more than any other country outside the Polar Regions. Despite contributing less than one percent to global GHG emissions, Pakistan is one of the countries most impacted by climate change. Pakistan has also played a leading role in climate negotiations at the international stage.

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