Karachi: Experts on Monday identified energy, water and agriculture as three major sectors most likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change in Pakistan, urging the need to activate the government’s climate change policy to combat the drastic impacts posed by climate change.
They were speaking at the 14th meeting of the National Coordination Body of the Mangroves for the Future Programme (MFF), organized by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Karachi. MFF is a unique partner-led regional initiative to promote investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development.
At the country level, MFF Programme activities are overseen by NCB represented by relevant government, civil society and private sector organisations. Pakistan joined MFF Programme in 2010 after it notified a National Coordination Body in 2009 and prepared a National Strategy and Action Plan. MFF Programme supports investment in conservation of coastal ecosystems and coastal livelihoods through its grant programme which include small grants, medium grants and regional projects.
Participants at the meeting included civil society, government, members of the private sector, and the academia. Chaired by Arif Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, the meeting centered on MFF’s progress with respect to the coastal issues, but also viewed the current situation along the coast through the climate change perspective.
The National Coordination Body (NCB) reviewed the progress made of implementation of MFF Programme in coastal areas Pakistan through its small, medium and regional projects.
Arif Ahmed Khan drew attention to the seriousness of the climate change issues calling for the urgent need to make use of the climate change policy of the government. He said that climate change had been occurring for thousands of years but at present it is more human-induced than natural. “This time the climate change has been anthropogenic (human induced). “The major impacts of climate change in the past have been on humans, accompanied by a cultural change. He said that climate change is a serious issues, citing abrupt weather patterns, and the Karachi heat wave as major indications of a drastic climatic change. He added that the energy sector would be at the forefront of the combat against climate change, as most fossil fuels would likely dry up over the next couple of decades,” he added. He explained that drastic impacts would also be faced by the water and the agriculture sector – something, he added, Pakistan had started witnessing. On marine protected areas, in the context of coastal issues, Arif Khan highlighted the need for notifying areas such as Churna Island and Miani Hor as marine protected areas.
“There are over 250 or so protected areas in Pakistan, which may appear protected on paper but are not so on the ground,” observed Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan. He added that “their management remains a big question and calls for proper attention so that such areas are legally and administratively well-protected even on the ground.”
Cheema also spoke about the possibility of trans-boundary initiatives between Pakistan and Iran, with special emphasis on wetlands.
Syed Ghulam Qadir Shah made a detail presentation highlighting the progress made under the MFF small and medium sized grants and the overall activities undertaken by MFF in Pakistan. He also signified the need for the involvement of the private sector in addressing coastal issues, focusing specially on energy companies that have their facilities along the coast. Others who spoke on the occasion included Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forests, members from the private sector and civil society.
The Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme is a regional initiative operating in eight countries including India, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. MFF aims to strengthen the environmental sustainability of coastal development, and to promote the investment in coastal ecosystem management. In 2011, under the MFF programme, nine organisations were awarded small grants to work on several unique projects in Sindh and Balochistan.