The changing monsoon patterns and increased frequency of disasters with bigger magnitude are posing new threats and challenges linking climate change with disasters.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Dr. Zafar Qadir stated this in a consultation on ‘Climate Change Policy and Pre-Monsoon Institutional Response’ jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and NDMA. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay moderated the proceedings.
Dr. Qadir told the participants that last year civilian institutes led the disaster response operations for the first time in Pakistan earlier performed by the Pakistan Army. He informed that for the first time elaborate contingency plans were developed by his authority at district, provincial and national levels with consultation from all stakeholders. He also shared measures for disaster mitigation that included inclusion of disaster preparedness, education in school curricula, gender mainstreaming in preparedness plans and training and capacity building of the disaster response institutions.
Naseer Memon, chief executive of the SPO, said that the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) 2011 will not make an impact without integrated institutional efforts and coordinated approach. He opined that policies in Pakistan were not followed in spirit and there are serious gaps in their effective implementation. Pakistan needs to adopt an approach of climatically appropriate development planning, he said adding that a nationwide disaster mapping, risk reduction planning and effective response mechanism is immediately required to avoid more catastrophes.
Director General Environment Jawed Ali Khan observed that today the disasters we face are mostly human induced. He reiterated the government’s resolve to cope with daunting challenges of climate change. He briefed participants on recent MoUs signed with German and Italian research organisations to strengthen and reinforce linkages with international organisations on climate change.
Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaud-hry, adviser on climate affairs, informed that the NCCP formulation was an independent process with the most extensive consultation exercise involving around 500 experts and stakeholders from all across the country. Policies documents have to be general setting the direction of the government in a particular field whereas the action plan document is supposed to translate the policy into specific actions, he added.
Hammad Raza Khan from the SPO said that the NCCP provides a baseline framework to address climate change related issues in Pakistan and garner many short and long term benefits. He said that NCCP discusses many subjects, which are now devolved to provinces such as agriculture, health, forestry and environment. He observed that some of the recommendations proposed in NCCP lack scientific scrutiny and there are instances of recommendations, which were unnecessary, overzealous or contradicting dealing with unwarranted subjects.
Talking of implementation mechanism, he said, the NCCP has dysfunctional policy implementation mechanisms, which are most likely to fail. He also showed concerns over financial aspects and said, keeping in view the present economic viability of the country; some of the recommendations are likely to have serious financial implications.