ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Pakistan has enacted several pieces of national policy initiatives in the areas of forestry, energy conservation, disaster management, renewable energy development, among others. These policies integrate scientific climate information into development priorities.
The Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid, said this, while speaking at a National Conference on “Integrating SDGs and Climate Change for Resilient Pakistan” organized by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan and Pakistan Red Crescent.
According to Zahid Hamid, ‘Climate change is affecting every sector of Pakistan, whether it be agriculture, industry or exports. Pakistan lost more than US $ 2 Billion due to extreme weather events, according to the think tank, German Watch. I appreciate Pakistan Red Crescent, IFRC and LEAD for organizing this event, and hope that Pakistan Coalition for Resilience will be a huge success’.
CEO Lead Pakistan, Ali Taqueer Sheikh, said, ‘Pakistan ranks among the top ten countries vulnerable to climate change. It is losing billions of dollars each year because of floods, heat waves, cyclones, GLOFs and flash floods. This national conference will sensitize policy-makers to integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate resilient policies in developmental plans, so that Pakistan can progress on the path of low-carbon growth’.
PRC Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi speaking on the occasion said, Pakistan Red Crescent as a part of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is on the front line of disaster response. It recognizes the urgent need for and commits to better manage the rising risk of extreme events, by improving early warning systems, and through better disaster relief and risk reduction and climate-smart programmes for healthcare, water, sanitation and food security.
He said, the disaster risks, such as unplanned urbanization, weak enforcement, unchecked construction in flood plains, expansion of economic activities in hazard prone area, water resource mismanagement, land degradation, desertification, environmental degradation and climate change have further increased the vulnerabilities and are compromising the sustainable development.
In order to address these increasing challenges in Pakistan, PRC, in line with the IFRC’s transformative One Billion Coalition for Resilience initiative invites everyone to be agents of change to create more resilient communities and transform the humanitarian system seeking ever-greater resources every year to save more lives.
Dr. Saeed said that through this conference, we aim to empower the key stakeholders, including key policymakers and opinion leaders, to explore how best the policies and strategies can serve as vehicle for the successful implementation of the SDGs; Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement. The expected outcome is to have a clearer and deeper understanding on how to ensure that climate information across different timescales is taken into consideration in our policies, programs and projects, and contributes to establishment of healthy, safe, resilient and more prosperous communities in Pakistan.
Coordinator Climate Change, LEAD Pakistan, Basharat Saeed, delivered a presentation on SDGs and climate change, highlighting the critical need for all stakeholders to integrate SDGs and climate change for development and survival.
PRC Secretary General, Dr. Rizwan Naseer in his opening address of the conference said that our goal is that by 2020, at least five million people in Pakistan take active steps. That is why PRC launched the Pakistan Coalition for Resilience to provide an opportunity to pool resources and support for local actions on Resilience, amongst the Red Crescent, United Nations, Civil Society, Academia, National & Local Government, the Business Community and Volunteers.
IFRC Climate Center Technical Advisor, Donna D Lagmedo, Former Governor State Bank Dr. Ishrat Hussain, DG Met, Dr. Ghulam Rasool, Chairman Water Resources Council, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Climate Change expert, Shafaqat Munir, and others also spoke on the occasion.