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November 21, 2020

Need to mitigate effects of climate change, says expert

National

November 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: It is very important to respond to climate change because it affects availability of water and food security, which are essential for life, said Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change CEO Aisha Khan.

Ms Khan who also heads Mountain and Glacier Protection Organisation was speaking at talk on the impact of climate change on South Asia organised here by Institute of Regional Studies. She said that as the effects of climate change become more pronounced, droughts and natural disasters recur more frequently, which could lead to out-migration from affected areas and aggravate conflict over scarce resources.

She shared that Pakistan was consistently ranking among the top 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. She said that 700 million people had been affected by climate-induced disasters in South Asia in the past one decade alone causing economic damages worth $150 billion from the year 2000 to 2017.

Ms Khan maintained that since the livelihoods of 31 per cent of the 1.89 billion population of South Asia associated with agriculture, it was imperative for South Asian countries to address climate change adaptability on priority and to coordinate their policies on the subject with each other through information sharing.

She said that while the Indus Waters Treaty had served the region well for 50 years, it was time to revisit some of its aspects in light of the new realities of the 21st century climatic conditions.

She urged think tanks like IRS to conduct in-depth research on revisiting the Treaty in light of the new realities. She also urged the think tanks to play their role in raising awareness about climate change among the masses.

While Urdu newspapers rarely publish columns on climate issues, the ones published in English-language dailies use a very technical language with which the public cannot usually relate, she regretted. She also pointed out that climate change is a collective threat which will affect the human security of 1.89 billion people of South Asia and, thus, requiring a collaborative regional approach.

Think tanks and civil society organisations can play an important role in highlighting this subject, she concluded. Nadeem Riyaz, president IRS, thanked the guest speaker in the end.