Thursday June 13, 2024

Climate change: Pakistan at seventh among top 10 most vulnerable countries

By Israr Khan
January 13, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change has been increasing with the passage of time despite that its contribution to the global warming is very much negligible. It is currently on the seventh position among the world top 10 countries vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change and global warming.

Pakistan’s greenhouse gas emission is less than a percent of global emission, but still it is most vulnerable to its impacts. “In 2015, Pakistan was at the 8th position and now it is on the 7th place among top 10 countries of the world which are most vulnerable to the climate change,” Zahid Hamid, Minister for Climate Change, said this while presiding over the UNIDO’s Cleantech Awards distribution ceremony here. The awards were distributed under the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) of UNIDO.

GCIP is a global programme, aimed at supporting and converting innovations in the field of clean technologies into successful businesses. The innovations focused on the five categories of renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste to energy and green buildings.

During the third cycle of the programme this year, GCIP supported 82 SMEs and startups in Pakistan through a comprehensive programme of extensive mentoring, training, access to investors and showcasing opportunities.

Winners received awards ranging from $20,000 (National Winner) to $15,000 (4 runner-up prizes), including a prize for the most promising woman-led business. As part of the package, all winners will receive a funded opportunity of mentorship and training during their exposure visit to the Silicon Valley, USA.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Zahid Hamid stressed the importance of innovation in clean technology in mitigating harmful impacts of climate change. The minister specifically appreciated the role of the UNIDO and its partners in arranging this competition, to foster green entrepreneurship and introduce viable solutions to the current energy crisis in Pakistan.

He reiterated his ministry’s continued support to this endeavour. PCST Chairman Prof Dr Anwarul Hassan Gilani, highlighted the role of PCST in supporting entrepreneurship in Pakistan, particularly in clean technologies to ensure sustainability of the ongoing initiatives. He also reiterated the possible role of PCST as hub of activities of National Cleantech Platform of UNIDO.

The UNIDO Representative to Pakistan, Mr Esam Alqararah, while addressing the ceremony, shared the UNIDO’s vision on energy and environment and the efforts UNIDO in promoting renewable energy and clean technologies in Pakistan. Alqararah pinpointed the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the development of the country. He reiterated UNIDO’s commitment to further strengthening the cooperation with the Ministry of Climate Change.

The GCIP Project Manager from UNIDO HQ Alois Mhlanga highlighted the significance of innovations in clean technologies and appreciated the achievements of GCIP in Pakistan. He highlighted the prospects and need of sustainability of this programme through national partners.

The ceremony was attended by more than 250 high ranking officials and dignitaries, ambassadors, international donor agencies, rectors and vice chancellors of universities, representatives from government institutions including allied departments of MoCC, representatives from industries, investors, Ministry of Industries and production, Climate Change Division, chambers of commerce and industry and private sector stakeholders and GEF cell.

Given the significance and contribution of small businesses to the promotion of job creation and overall economic development of Pakistan, UNIDO is implementing "Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs and Start-ups" focusing on the promotion of innovations in clean technologies, funded by the Global Environment Facility and supported by its strategic partners, Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST), National Productivity Organisation (NPO), Pakistan Institute of Management (PIM) and international Knowledge partner - The Cleantech Open USA, since 2014.

The Programme is currently running in six countries, including Pakistan, and aims at developing a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem, while supporting clean technology innovations in SMEs and startup entrepreneurs to maximise their opportunities to achieve sustainable commercial success, with the help of Cleantech Open's proven model to support cleantech startups and SMEs for the implementation of the acceleration programme in Pakistan.

The programme is focused on enhancing both emerging cleantech start-ups and the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and policy framework in Pakistan. A competition-based approach is used to identify the most promising entrepreneurs across the country, whilst a local acceleration programme supports, promotes and “de-risks” the participating companies and connects them to potential investors, customers and partners.