Parliamentarians agree on climate actions to counter challenges

ISLAMABAD: The parliamentarians of Pakistan hailing from all leading political parties have agreed on undertaking climate actions based on long-term sustainable approach to counter emerging challenges and threats from climate change including in the areas of food, water and energy security.
Speaking at a consultation gathering on ‘Impacts of Climate change across different sector of Pakistan’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
They were of the view that shifting towards clean energy is the need of the hour for being the safest, reliable, and efficient means of energy production. They called for harnessing abundant indigenous resources as they are important for economic growth of the country.
Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Rukhsana Naveed, urged both the treasury and opposition benches to work together to better respond to all the climate related challenges. She said, both sides can work under a ‘Green Parliamentarian Caucus’ in the parliament on the cause of climate change to save nation from climatic hazards. The Caucus can play a great role in mobilizing policy makers, leadership across the divide and the common citizens for efficient use of energy and water to achieve the goal of protecting the environment and ecosystem.
Member, National Assembly, Zille Huma, on the occasion suggested that for decarbonization and environment mitigation, Pakistan needs to think beyond just tree plantation and address the reasons that are leading to water, air and land pollution. While sharing learning from previous experience, Ms Romina Khurshid Alam, Member, National Assembly, said climate change is impacting food security and causing water scarcity.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, said that there is high time now that the members of the parliament representing various political parties develop a multi-party consensus on critical challenges climate change is posing for the country. He offered that SDPI will be happy to provide secretarial and research support to the parliamentarians willing to work on climate change issues. The SDPI is working on climate induced migration amongst women, impacts of coal and potential of renewable energy transition in Thar region, and the pathway for green Economy-perspectives for a Clean Energy Transition (CET) in Pakistan. “The recent policies of the government in improving the energy sector outlook and mitigating the climate change could be better implemented through consensus-based approach,” Dr Suleri said and proposed that a multiparty party ‘Green Caucus’ could be formulated in this regard with a technical and evidence-based policy support by SDPI.
Senator Dr Wasim Shahzad appreciated that SDPI has initiated discussion among the parliamentarians from various parties on climate change which is an important theme for all of us. Riaz Fatyana, MNA and head of task force on SDGs was of the view that food, water and energy security are part of SDGs commitments on which we have to take action now.
The parliamentarians on the occasion also explained how the effects of climate change, long spells of droughts and frequent floods have led to a decline in farm productivity, increased livestock mortality, and large-scale unemployment in the country. In a broader context, climate-induced displacement, and migration impact society’s socioeconomic dynamics, causing greater inequalities. It was suggested by the parliamentarians that as the people have limited adaptive and response capabilities to face multiple challenges posed by climate change to their lives, livelihoods, and property, the parliamentarians have a crucial role in shaping energy and environmental policy. The participants added further that through law-making, parliamentarians can propose or amend legislation to strengthen legal framework and the policies pertaining to clean energy and renewable energy development.

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