KARACHI: “The temperature changes under current circumstances are expected to be higher in Pakistan in the long run than global averages, as the country is located in a warm climate region and is more vulnerable to climate changes due to its diverse topographic and demographic settings.
The country is affected by the drastic effects of climate change due to its geographical location and socio-economic situation. In recent years, highly variable monsoon rains and severe climatic events such as floods and droughts have affected the socio-economic structure of the country,” says the Pakistan Economic Survey 2015- 16.
According to the survey, the extreme weather conditions in Pakistan like the floods in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 have considerably effected not only the agriculture sector but also damaged infrastructure on a large scale. Other issues the country faces due to climate change include water pollution, desertification, soil erosion, water logging and salinity, solid waste management and deforestation. The government is aware of these issues and committed to mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Some of the immediate actions taken by the government include biodiversity conservation and National Disaster Management Plan.
Being a signatory to National Conservation Strategy and Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), the government has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan which is the most significant step in addressing the biodiversity loss in the country. To minimise the effects of natural disasters, the government has introduced a 10 year National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). The institutional capacity building is being enhanced to combat disasters in first phase of this plan. In the second phase, the activities and plans shall be implemented in priority areas, whereas Phase 3 will be dedicated to developing the capacity of local government throughout the nation. Further, the surveillance and forecasting capacity of the Pakistan Metrological Department is being enhanced by installing more weather surveillance radars at various locations in the country.
The government has undertaken several projects and programmes to support these environmental goals, including capacity building, provision of clean drinking water, environmental management, biodiversity, air pollution control and watershed management, urban development, promotion of tourism, restoration of lakes and water bodies, environmental awareness and waste management. One of the major issues which the country faces is desertification and land degradation. To combat desertification and land degradation, the government started an umbrella project with the assistance of UNDP.
The first phase of this project has been completed and targets such as institutional and knowledge capacity building, feasibility studies for testing Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices and designing full demonstration investments, has been achieved. Phase 2 is also under implementation in 14 districts of Pakistan with a cost of Rs.1666.67 million. The government is also working with several NGOs, INGOs and United Nations Organizations, such as Leads, WWF, IUCN and UNEP on environmental issues and has implemented projects in capacity building on climate change adaptation, environment rehabilitation, mountain area and wet areas conservancy and provision of clean drinking water. As a result, Pakistan has been successful in achieving the targets set under MDG 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability). The target of converting 0.92 million vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has also been achieved, while access to improved water resources through hand pumps, electronic motors and tap water has also met its mark. The Ministry of Climate Change has taken many initiatives to increase awareness and to change the attitude of people regarding environmental issues as well as strict compliance of government regulations to achieve environmental sustainability targets.
Pakistan’s GHG emissions are bound to increase considerably as the country climbs up the development ladder and strives to provide adequate amounts of energy to support its growing socio-economic developmental requirements. As a responsible member of international community, Pakistan would like to contribute to the global GHG mitigation efforts without compromising on its basic minimum energy and food needs.