Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahid Ullah Khan warned that failing to adapt to rapidly changing weather patterns for countries like Pakistan and mitigating the carbon emissions would badly hurt the countries’ efforts meant for achieving sustainable development goals.
These goals include poverty eradication, increased and improved access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation, access to adequate health facilities, gender equality, education, energy, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production of natural resources, biodiversity and marine conservation.
He was speaking as the keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the three-day high-level policy workshop on “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) – an initiative meant to put the world on the carbon-free pathway that leads to sustainable development – here at a local hotel on Tuesday.
Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said that global warming, which continue to unleash devastating impacts in different parts of the world, including Pakistan, has emerged to be the biggest challenge of the present century.
Pakistan is reportedly ranked among the ten most vulnerable countries in the World by the German Watch Index 2014, a German-based prestigious think-tank on Climate Change.
“The very existence of mankind has been at stake because of the climate change, for it has increased frequency of flash floods, forest fires, erratic and torrential rains and led to sea-level rise, melting of glaciers at a higher pace, erratic and irregular and depleting river flows and overall environmental degradation,” he highlighted.
The event was attended by top key government officials from environment, water, energy, forest, health ministries and departments and international and local non-governmental organisations. Climate Change and Environmental scientist, researchers, academicians, policymakers and planners also attended the event.
The minister said that though every country has become vulnerable to the delirious effects of climate change, unfortunately, developing countries like Pakistan and the least developed like Nepal are the ones likely to be hit the hardest by the unpredictable climatic conditions.
Talking about the topic of the workshop, the minister said that today’s event on the INDCs would contribute towards firming up Pakistan’s contributions towards climate change and provide a roadmap on how the country can further enhance its contributions if additional funding is made available under international climate finance.
The one single event of devastating 2010 flooding eroded away 6 per cent of our GDP, he stressed
As per the initial assessment of Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review Mission of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the climate change-related activities are costing Pakistan 5 to 7 per cent of its annual federal budget every year, he underlined.
Given the grave scenario regarding climate change impacts, Pakistan, hand-in-hand with other countries of the world, is striving hard to devise a mechanism to keep the increase in our earth’s temperature below two degree centigrade as a part of the global climate change agreement to be reached later this year in Paris among the 198 countries that will be organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he said.