ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the government has set aside more than 8% of budget for climate-related actions.
The PM was speaking at the inaugural session of the Science-Policy Conference on Climate Change organised on Monday by the Ministry of Climate Change’s research wing, the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC).
Other institutions that collaborated in the endeavour included the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W), the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), the University of Utah, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), NDMA and HBS.
He said that the government passed the Pakistan Climate Change Act, paving the way for setting up two new institutions – the National Climate Change Council (NCCC), which is chaired by the PM, and the National Climate Change Authority, an executive body to implement the council’s directives.
“This will bring greater coherence to climate actions being taken by various ministries and agencies,” PM Abbasi said, adding that the government was fully committed to addressing climate change challenges.
He said that Pakistan’s climate policy revolved around three objectives – saving human lives, promoting sustainable development and honouring the country’s international commitments.
PM Abbasi noted that Pakistan was among countries most affected by climate change despite its negligible contribution to global warming. “We are an energy-deficient country and we need affordable energy to meet our basic needs and to continue development process,” he said.
Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that the government intended to strengthen Pakistan’s research capacity in this regard, especially the country’s leading climate research institute, the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC).
“We hope to boost this centre’s standards… we also want to benefit from the experiences of the international community,” Khan said.
GCISC’s Executive Director Dr Tariq Banuri said that the conference created an opportunity for stakeholders to deliberate on Pakistan’s development in the context of climate change.
“This three-day event will provide an initial mapping effort to alleviate the impact of climate change and assess knowledge, capacity needs and priorities that better reflect Pakistan’s development context and a stimulating environment for yielding innovative ideas for implementation,” he said.
The conference, Dr Banuri said, also sought to strengthen the domestic science policy interface.
Prominent among those who addressed the conference were Prof Steve Burian of the US, Dr Tom Downing of the UK, Dr Youba Sokona of Mali, and Dr Adil Najam, the former vice-chancellor of LUMS.
This is the first international conference on Climate Change being held in Pakistan in which more than 140 scientists from all over the world will present their research.