ISLAMABAD: Even though the environment is stated to be a priority of the government and one of its flagship programmes is to plant 10 billion trees over the next five years, the government though has failed to activate its climate council even a month after creating it.
The Pakistan Climate Council had been formed by the Ministry of Climate Change on December 26, 2018, after Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a summary. It was established to meet Pakistan’s obligations under international conventions relating to climate change and to address its effects.
A notification for the council, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, the council includes 46 members.
The prime minister, or a person he nominates, will be the chairperson of this council and will include the ministers for climate change finance, food security, planning, science and technology, water resources, energy and foreign affairs as ex-officio members. It will also include the chief ministers of all four provinces along with the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and the prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (to be invited when needed).
Ministers-in-charge of the environment at the provincial level, along with the chairpersons of national assembly and senate standing committees, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Higher Education Commission, Pakistan Climate Change Authority, National Commission on Status of Women, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council along with the engineer-in-chief of the military will be part of it.
Others included in the council include a host of experts, representative of think tanks, former ministers, lawmakers, and officials of associated government departments.
The Act to form council was approved in parliament by the previous government in 2017. The Act proposed to form Climate Change Council, Climate Change Authority and Climate Change Fund.
Sources disclosed that the climate change ministry has sent the matter to the finance division for the establishment of the climate change authority and to deploy its members and employees.
The Climate Change Authority will develop policies, projects, programmes and take other necessary measures, including studies, research as well as oversee agreements with international agencies and firms regarding climate change.
Further, the council will design a strategy to include awareness campaigns against climate change in the syllabus while it would also develop a yearly report consisting of progress, difficulties, future plans as well as an audit report and other information.
A fund in this regard will also be created called ‘Pakistan Climate Change Fund’.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2019.