Pakistan 8th most vulnerable country to climate change

Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute conducted a consultative seminar on “Climate risks and its impacts on Markets and Growth: The Case of Pakistan”.

The seminar was convened as a first test run to share reports on climate risks and climate markets and identifying multiple vulnerabilities to climate change within Pakistan. The strategy involved the stakeholders from the beginning, for a more inclusive and transparent methodologies on climate finance.

Researchers Daud Alam, Rabia Masood and Summaiya introduced the climate change and its argumentative impacts at the global level, specifically focusing the developing world, highlighting linkages between climate change with risk, the tragedy of global commons and the urgent need for climate resilient infrastructures.

They recommended that the adaptive capacity of institutions must be improved, as climate change has adverse effects on all sectors, specifically agriculture and the cotton industry which is the main cash crop in Pakistan.

Pakistan ranks as the 8th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. The Impacts of Climate change derail the markets, precisely including the cotton, transport and the energy sectors. It was emphasized that a call for an immediate induction of social protection to help the country sustain and transition towards more eco-friendly approaches, was required.

Guest speaker Mia Masud, highlighted the need to focus on the textile industry being the back bone of the economy, which ranks as no. 4 in the world producers; floods, droughts and rise of temperature has severely impacted the cotton production as it is heavily sensitive to climate change and has fallen below demand and effected foreign reserves. There is a need for the agriculture sector to be tasked to cater to the cotton industry, and also to look towards other potential sectors as well to reduce dependence on cotton, focusing not just on domestic product but global market trends.

Dr. Usman Mustafa who is an Agriculture economist, also spoke of the urgent need to draw attention to the issue of climate change, and that there was a vital need for clear cut goals and strategies that are region specific to be able to adopt an effective methodology.

He said that the third world countries suffer the most due to their heavy reliance on the agriculture sector which is 100% weather dependent. That is why it is necessary to explore other scope and alternative crops and adaptive measure to be more climate resilient. Climate change alters biodiversity at the most minute levels that threatens our food security, therefore there must be coherence between long term and short term goals, and long term coping mechanisms. An important area that must be brought to light is changing of consumption habits.

Javed Ali Khan, former Director General of Environment and Climate Change, stressed the need to engage more deeply in challenges affecting our country, with a model tailored to country specific needs in Pakistan. While creating connections between climate change and markets, he said that market vibrancy is based on potential. He referred to a recent study according to which climate change and the related challenges were experienced in eight districts of Sindh that suffered from climate change.

He further added, communicating at a grass root level was very important to fully understand the effects of climate change. Climate change has depleted market potentials. Pakistan’s agricultural research institutions in these areas are working on water resistant and drought resistant seeds, which have the capacity to sustain and cope with the adverse climate effects due to enhanced technology. Climate change affects every ecosystem differently so there can be no blue print approach, intensive and in-depth study is necessary. Working with UN habitat and studying projections till the end of 21sth century has predicted a positive effect in North of Pakistan with longer summers.

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