Climate change resilient policies can shield from environmental challenges


THE UNCERTAIN variability in climate due to human intervention in nature has aggravated serious challenges to nations across the globe concerning multifaceted domains of water and food security, biodiversity, human health, natural disasters including increased flooding etc. The climate change is a global concern and the relevant bodies must convolve for integrated efforts in order to mollify the effect of noxious climate change phenomenon by impacting on governmental policies. The regional cooperation is significantly important and countries in a region are required to devise joint policies keeping in view the different dynamics of climate change in different parts of the world.

This was shared by the speaker of a recently held three days conference in Islamabad on the theme of Adaptation: Bringing climate change science to policy makers, jointly organized by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSandR), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), and World Wildlife Fund Pakistan (WWF-Pak).

“Time has never been more opportune for the governments of the region to rise up to the reality of climate change. Instead of viewing boundaries as separating people, we need to view boundaries as meeting places to develop solutions”, said by Dr David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD emphasizing on the regional cooperation for adaptation of climate change policies. He indicated that the recent flooding in Pakistan was also a discourse of climate change phenomenon and its apt time to rush for climate change resilient policies to avoid the devastating effects of such fiascos.

The conference was aimed at bringing the stakeholders including climate change scientists, researchers, students, journalists, policy makers on a conduit to convey the research findings, identify the climate change challenges, and propose pragmatic solutions to policy makers in order to varnish the country with climate resilient approaches and practices.

The climate change experts in the seminar highlighted that according to a study; Indus is a glacier driven river and is vulnerable to climate change as its glaciers are posed threat of shrinkage to as much as 30 percent in volume. The speakers stressed that there is dire need of consideration from policy makers to adapt climate change policies in order to efficiently tackle the associate issues pertaining to this including severe water scarcity whose traces will also be imparted on agricultural lands due to lack of water for irrigation purposes.

The significant steps required to conserve environment and avoid devastating effects of catastrophes include the implementation of flood zoning and imposition of ban on settlements next to vulnerable waterways, improving financial capital and mandates of provincial and local institutions to implement climate change adaptation strategies, as well as identification of the importance of research lands, and the need to protect them. The speakers emphasized the need of climate change resilient policies particularly in cities where green areas are needed, they claimed for protection of existing natural resources including forests through mechanisms like REDD+, and utilization of hydropower resources to optimum level.

The policy makers are also required to opt for multi-pronged approach. The communities dwelling in proximity of mountains are compelled for migration mainly due to economic and environmental factors. According to a small scale survey about 82 percent of the mountain migrants said they had no option except to migrate from their mountains due to deficiency of food resources. It is also found that migration does provide an alternative for livelihood security with about 70 percent of remittances spent within migrants. The government is required to introduce policies for value chain development, high-value vegetables and fruits, cottage and small industry, and youth entrepreneurship as solutions to food insecurity in the mountains.

The convergence of stakeholders to impact on policy making for adaptation of climate change is a hint of moving in right direction as there is no margin of wasting time in current scenario and do-able tangible solutions through effective climate change adaptation policies and robust implementation is the only way forward for social, economic, and environmental security.

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