Posted on 05 July 2019
Karachi, 20 June: Oxfam in Pakistan in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) celebrated World Environment Day to raise environmental awareness and sensitize people; join hands with the government, the private sector, youth and relevant stakeholders to protect the environment from climate change caused by human-led activities. The event, organized at a local hotel in city, emphasized the impacts of climate change and the crucial role of those most affected in driving solutions to this global problem. Many countries that are acutely vulnerable to climate change, including Pakistan, are showing determined leadership in response to the climate crisis.
The Provincial Minister for Environment Climate Change and Coastal Development, Mohammad Taimur Talpur graced the occasion and said, “Pakistan ranks amongst the top ten most disaster-prone countries in the world, hence we must collectively acknowledge climate change is a serious issue.” He also shared that women, children and indigenous people are disproportionately affected by climate change which is expected to have wide-ranging impacts on Pakistan. He emphasized, we must commit towards collectively tackling the impacts of this global challenge faced by many nations across the world. He also shared that after Sukkur, Sindh government will soon ban plastic bags in Karachi. He informed that climate change policy has been prepared by the Sindh government which will be made public in next few weeks.
The Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan, Mohammed Qazilbash supported the minister’s views and said, “Climate change affects us all, but it has a larger impact on women throughout the developing world. Women often grow the family’s food, fetch fuel and water, and raise children. When clean water becomes harder to find during a drought, crops are destroyed by floods, or children become sick, women are hit hardest and they have to find solutions. Oxfam realizes that women play an integral role in addressing the impacts of climate change, specifically in efforts to ensure food security in their households as well in climate change adaptation. Our projects have 70 per cent representation of rural women in disaster preparedness training, climate-smart agricultural techniques, diversifying livelihoods such as kitchen gardening, long-term sustainability of the environment and mangrove conservation.”
Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor, WWF-Pakistan said “Extreme weather patterns in Pakistan, especially rise in temperature, frequent cyclones, uncertain rainfalls, super floods and severe droughts caused by climate change have brought about drastic changes in the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the country. Climate related hazards have significant impact on the lives of poor and marginalized communities, therefore climate change monitoring and impact assessment activities should be organized on scientific basis. The Government needs to develop adaptation plans and policies and integrate climate change considerations into broader development schemes.”
While, Syed Salman Shah Director General, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said that the national Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy faces enormous implementation challenges both in terms of financial and technical backstopping as well as the cross-sectoral linkages and coordination at the national and provincial levels. He also said that there are serious resource constraints at the provincial and especially the district level. Support is needed from the public and private sector to bridge the gaps in implementation. ‘There is a need to improve resilience building knowledge and awareness among institutions and in the wider public’, he added.
Naeem Ahmed Mughal, Director General, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) gave an overview of the climate change related policy inputs and briefed participants about actions the agency has taken so far.
The event raised awareness about the environmental challenges caused by climate change, including the significance of mangrove forests, loss of livelihoods, climate induced migration and deforestation issues faced by the country. Over 200 participants engaged in an interactive panel discussion led by DG SEPA, DG PDMA, Dr. Aamir Alamgir, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Karachi; Ali Tauqeer Sheikh CEO, LEAD Pakistan; Zofeen Ibrahim prominent journalist and Dr. Kishan Chand Mukwana, Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering Science & Technology, Nawabshah. A live art activity on the environment and a theatre performance, directed by the renowned performer and social activist Sheema Kermani, highlighted the impacts of climate change on the communities of Sindh.
Oxfam and its allies, including WWF-Pakistan, share a desire to make a lasting difference. The growing threat of climate change requires an integrated global agenda and jointly organized development initiatives of academia, the government and private sector. Pakistan’s youth should take the challenge of quality research and develop a vital link with rural communities to come up with new climate resilient solutions.