Addressing Pakistan's climate crisis: Innovative solutions from homegrown ventures

Innovate47 fosters and expedites ventures that tailor climate solutions to the country's needs

Hasan Raza July 10, 2024

Pakistan is grappling with the dire consequences of climate change. From glacial meltwater-induced floods to searing heat waves and unpredictable droughts, the country is at the forefront of an escalating crisis.

The World Bank has identified Pakistan as one of the eight nations most vulnerable to climate change, with rising temperatures, threatening agricultural productivity and food security for millions. Erratic weather patterns disrupt water availability, exacerbating an already strained resource, while floods and extreme weather events inflict billions of dollars in damages, displacing communities and crippling infrastructure.

Water scarcity threatens not only agriculture but also public health, with declining water tables and erratic rainfall compromising access to clean drinking water. Rising sea levels endanger coastal communities by contaminating freshwater sources and risking inundation. Deforestation and biodiversity loss further compound these issues, disrupting natural resource cycles and weakening ecosystems' resilience against extreme weather.

Moreover, climate change impacts Pakistan's social fabric. Job displacement in climate-sensitive industries like agriculture and fishing is becoming increasingly common. Extreme weather events disrupt supply chains, affecting businesses and livelihoods, while the strain on resources and infrastructure can heighten social tensions and inequalities.

A great example is the delivery of water through bowsers instead of pipelines is a major cause of increased traffic congestion, pollution, cost and depletion of forex reserves. Data shows that it costs Rs250 to deliver 1,000 gallons of water via pipelines, and around 10 times as much when done through bowsers. Addressing this is an immediate win for the country as per Innovate47's policy team.

Amid these challenges, Innovate47 offers a platform for Pakistani ingenuity to address climate issues head-on. Innovate47 goes beyond raising awareness, providing comprehensive support to nurture and accelerate ventures with impactful climate solutions tailored to Pakistan's needs.

The program encompasses a broad range of sectors, from renewable energy and sustainable agriculture to waste management and climate resilience. Unlike traditional accelerator programs, Innovate47 embraces a wide array of ventures, not just tech startups.

Whether it's developing climate-smart irrigation systems or pioneering eco-friendly materials, Innovate47 supports diverse, innovative solutions. This inclusive approach ensures that various sectors can contribute to mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Umair Sheikh, the founder and managing director of Innovate47, brings extensive experience in fostering innovation and building impactful ventures. His dual role at the Founder Institute and his background as a fintech entrepreneur provide him with unique insights into securing funding and navigating the complexities of early-stage startups.

Sheikh's leadership is instrumental in guiding Innovate47's mission to support climate action ventures that require substantial capital and strategic guidance.

The challenges posed by climate change in Pakistan are immense, but initiatives like Innovate47 demonstrate that they are not insurmountable. Innovate47 serves as a launchpad for Pakistani ingenuity, but the fight for a sustainable future requires collective effort.

Educating oneself about the challenges, adopting sustainable practices, and supporting organizations dedicated to a greener tomorrow are crucial steps we can all take. By working together, we can build a more resilient Pakistan for future generations.


Hasan Raza
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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