International Conference on Regional Cooperation on Climate Change in South Asia concludes

ISLAMABAD, Nov 22 (APP): Experts on Tuesday termed climate diplomacy, green energy initiatives and decoupling political differences as the main agents to cope with climate challenges in South Asia.

Climate Experts made the remarks while discussing the climate challenges in South Asia during an international conference titled “Regional Cooperation on Climate Change in South Asia” organized here by Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

Talking to the participant ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that COP 27 produced a reasonable outcome in terms of damage assessment but a lot of work still needed to do.

“South Asian countries need to work together to face Non-traditional challenges and come up with suitable mitigating strategies,” he added.

Ambassador Kakakhel said South Asian region was vulnerable to Climate change and UN IPCC reports identified these challenges.

The region is frequented by climate induced calamities still different agreements under the SAARC on Climate had not been implemented due to lack of political will, he said.

Dr. Philipp Johannes Zehmisch from South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg said that lack of funds was impacting Pakistan’s Climate change performance.

“Climate change is an all-encompassing area from disaster relief to mitigation. It is important for the countries in the region to work on green energy initiatives”, he suggested.

Associate Director, TERI, Delhi, India Dr. Shailly Kedia said that decoupling of political differences important to tackle Climate change issue in the region which needed climate diplomacy and its paradigm needed to shift from countries to people.

Director, Governance and Policy, WWF Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that leadership in the South Asia had the vision to put programs together to deal with climate issues but implementation had not been possible due to lack of adequate resources.

“Climate diplomacy can help in implementation of action plans developed through negotiations between various stakeholders,” he said.

The second session of the conference focused on climate financing.

Executive Director for Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change Aisha Khan said that loss and damage fund put forward at COP 27 was very vague and added that external finance was the only requisite to deal with Climate change and address adaptation and mitigation issues. Principle of equity should be respected when countries talk about climate finance, she added.

Another speaker Anam Rathor said that limited climate spending was hindering the fight against climate induced damages in Pakistan and the main issue for developing countries like Pakistan was how to get access to international climate fund and get adequate support from it.

The third session focused on a transition towards a greener economy where Advisor, Ministry of Planning Pakistan Imran Khalid said that negotiations at COP 27 had allowed the Global North to continue its emissions without much consequence.

“There is inequity and inequality built into the system need to be addressed to deal with issues of Climate change at the global stage” he said.

Dr. Rezaur Rahman from institute of Water and Flood Management said that the South Asian region was suffering from many crises, but every crisis could become an opportunity if there was a reset to traditional development models.

Ambassador Khalid Mahmood in his concluding remarks said that sustainable development for economic growth should keep focus on environmental protection in South Asia.