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January 16, 2016

Climate change, solutions discussed


January 16, 2016


Policymakers and environmental experts join hands to discuss how the climate change is threatening Punjab and what adaptation and mitigation options can help to address these issues effectively.

The seminar entitled 'Towards 2047: Policy Dialogue on Punjab’s Climate and Growth Policies & Strategies’ was held at a local hotel on Friday. The seminar was organised by the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan to discuss how provincial policies and strategies could best serve as vehicles for successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the ambitions articulated under the Paris Climate Agreement.

The seminar was aimed to sensitise key stakeholders including policymakers and opinion leaders to deliberate on a set of salient questions that were critical for the growth, development and well-being of the fast growing but vulnerable population of Punjab. Various policy experts including Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO, LEAD Pakistan and Director Asia, Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Adviser, Government of Balochistan and Tahia Noon, MPA Punjab, shared their views on the climate change in Punjab. According to Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, ‘Poverty and climate vulnerability are intrinsically linked and this reality makes it imperative to develop a pro-poor climate compatible development strategy for Punjab. This event is on the step in the development of such a strategy.’

Following the keynote address by Dr. Qaiser Bangali in which he talked about rising inequality and how our greed was leading to the degradation of ecosystem services, the event featured two back-to-back roundtable discussions where experts talked about the climate vulnerability of Punjab and proposed solutions to deal with it.

Basharat Saeed, Coordinator Climate Change Programme, LEAD-Pakistan, highlighted the drivers of climate vulnerability in Punjab and emphasised the important role of vulnerability assessments in targeting service delivery and directing development interventions. Dr. Khalid Mohtidullah, an expert on water policy, said ‘You can’t value what you can’t measure’ underscoring the need for research and data on availability, productivity and utilisation of water in Pakistan. He concluded by saying that there were countries which had 1/100th the water that Pakistan had, but have a higher value of agricultural output.

Dr. Nasir Javed, CEO, Urban Unit, reminded the audience of the need to admit to our mistakes as the first step towards finding sustainable solutions. This was best captured by his claim ‘The population growth is not the culprit, but rather the lack of planning that is to blame.’ The policy dialogue helped policymakers develop a greater understanding of the need for climate compatible development in Punjab. In the end, a lively debate took place as various experts involved in the planning and implementation of national and provincial development policies participated and gave their recommendations on how to make Punjab resilient to climate change.

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