ISLAMABAD: Deploring that Indus River had become the world’s second most-polluted river, Federal Climate Change Minister Senator Sherry Rehman Thursday announced to launch multi-billion dollar ‘Living Indus Initiative’, one of the largest climate resilience projects built in partnership with the UN, following its formal approval from the federal cabinet the other day.
“Today we are delighted to launch Pakistan’s biggest climate change adaptation project to protect the River Indus, which is the lifeline of the country by supporting 80 percent of country’s agriculture and 75 percent of its economy. Unfortunately, River Indus has become the second most polluted river in the world, threatening livelihood of millions of people dependent on it”, she told a news conference in the capital.
Accompanied by Federal Secretary Climate Change Asif Haider Shah, Senator Sherry Rehman shared the details of the project and the initiative, which proposes a menu of 25 interventions that aim to address serious climate challenges on the ground with an emphasis on nature-based solutions, green infrastructure and ecosystem-based adaptation approaches to protect, conserve and restore natural, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.
“These interventions cut across multiple sectors like agriculture, forestation, urban resilience, waste management, pollution and blue economy. The initiative stems from a growing demand of the people of Pakistan and communities, for action to ensure a healthy, stable and resilient future”, she informed adding that these initiatives are in line with Pakistan’s climate mitigation and adaptation commitments, with 16 interventions creating flood resilience in the vulnerable parts of the country.
Out of 25, they have outlined 8 immediate priority yet strategic actions in this initiative, adding that Green Infrastructure for Flood Control and Groundwater Recharge is the first priority intervention which is the need of the hour and promises benefits such as reduced flood risks, increased water security, improved food security and climate-resilient livelihood.
The project will be implemented by the provinces under the guidance of the federal ministry, Senator Sherry Rehman said and added that given the devastation from catastrophic flooding from the monster monsoon rains, building climate resilience via adaptation planning is the most urgent need of the moment to protect local population with initiatives that replenish and recharge our jugular vein for food, livelihood, and water security.
She maintained that Pakistan is within one of the largest floodplains in the world, as 9 out of 10 of its largest cities are located within 50km of the Indus, saying it serves as one of the biggest carbon sinks and is constantly under threat from the drastic impacts of climate change.
According to her, Living Indus is one of the umbrella initiative that addresses the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
Indus clean-up and urban effluent treatment initiative have been designed to clean the Indus of pollutants through waste management, she said adding that nature-based resilient agriculture component of the project will restore agricultural livelihoods and improve water distribution in water stressed area.