ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians hold immense responsibility to take corrective legislative steps towards water conservation and must vigorously engage with executives on building inclusive frameworks for reduction of climate change impacts.
Pakistan Parliamentary delegation emphasized this while addressing different working groups in Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Standing Committee on Economic and Sustainable Development being held in Naryan Mar, Russian Federation, said a press release received here on Saturday.
Pakistani delegation was represented by Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Senator Rubina Khalid, Senator Usman Khan Kakar and Amjed Pervez, Secretary Senate.
Besides that, Members National Assembly (MNAs), Sadaqat Ali Abbasi and Mansoor Hayat Khan were also part of delegation.
Pakistan’s delegation actively participated in the discussions of the committee and said Pakistan has always supported peace initiatives as it considers peace imperative for economic growth and development.
While addressing the Working Group on Water Crisis, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said water crisis was the most critical issue that could endanger our survival on this planet as it was the premium ingredient to sustaining life on earth.
However, the population explosion, technological boom, and high demand for water, particularly drinking water, has resulted in pockets of global water shortage that threaten the lives of millions, he said.
He said climate change impacts have severe consequences in the shape of water scarcity and flooding. He said this issue barely needed any advocacy for immediate action. It required immediate interventions from the global population in general and leaders in particular.
“As parliamentarians, we hold immense responsibility to take corrective legislative steps towards water conservation and to ensure that no human being was deprived of this basic right.
Parliamentarians must vigorously engage with executives on building inclusive frameworks for reduction of climate change impacts,” Pervaiz Rasheed maintained.
He apprised the participants of the meeting that Pakistan has recently formulated a comprehensive National Water Policy that takes care of the interests and ensures commitments from both federal and provincial governments.
It addresses almost all relevant issues concerning the management of water resources including the looming threat of climate change, he added.
While apprising about the efforts of the Parliament in Pakistan, he said Senate has constituted a Special Committee on water scarcity in May 2018, to deliberate and guide on the issue of water scarcity.
The committee has been conducting meetings frequently and intervening in its capacity of oversight and legislative body to effectively solve the water crises, he said.
The senator suggested that parliaments, through fiscal measures, could also impose water resources development tax and generate revenues for the provision of water to those who could not access it, thereby reducing the inequality in water consumption.
Overall, it required integrated water resource management and planning and giving priority to it as a basic human need.
He said it would be redundant to list the so many promising strategies either being implemented or being developed to handle this crisis. But what they need to take home was the understanding of the gravity of the problem, and the commitment to responsibly play our roles as leaders in our countries to ensure all possible parliamentary efforts to avert a major humanitarian crisis of the future.
While representing Pakistan in another Working Group on Green Funding, Senator Robina Khalid said health, livelihood, and sustainability of our future generation depend on how they showed their resolve to address the issue of climate change.
She said though the Paris Agreement was a great step towards mitigating the effects of climate change, the main responsibility still lied with national Parliaments.
Only the legislature could translate this agreement into meaningful action.
However, the policy must remain cognizant of the fact that developing or less developed countries are sharing the brunt of climate change equally.
She said financing for green projects has been a serious concern. Though green bonds, green banks, village funds, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) held great importance, the Global energy investment in 2017 failed to keep up with energy security and sustainability goals, with expectations that it will slow further this year.
Our legislative and oversight endeavours should focus on gradual phasing out of fossil fuels, and encourage renewable and sustainable energy sources, she added.
“We, as parliamentarians, the true representatives of the people, must utilize budgetary tools and financial oversight to ensure allocation of sufficient funding for climate change policies and projects, and establish specialized mechanisms for efficiently mobilizing and ensuring utilization of climate funds” she observed.