World Environment Day

urgency of funding and support to shield populations from climate disasters cannot be overstated

Editorial June 05, 2024


As June 5 marks World Environment Day, we face a momentous opportunity to address some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. This year’s theme centres on land restoration, halting desertification and bolstering drought resilience — issues that are increasingly critical, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

This region, brimming with biodiversity, is under siege. Extensive destruction of agriculture and forests coupled with unchecked urban sprawl are ravaging ecosystems. The degradation of land threatens our very existence, as healthy soils deteriorate, risking a catastrophic spike in global warming. Additionally, unsustainable water practices are causing widespread water stress and diminishing aquatic biodiversity, turning vibrant ecosystems into barren wastelands. This is particularly true for vulnerable countries like Pakistan that are grappling with severe environmental crises. The country is currently bracing intense heat waves, further jeopardising food security for 8.6 million people. In provinces like Sindh and Balochistan, the impact on education have also been profound. School closures due to heatwaves and floods have disrupted the learning of millions of students. Local NGOs have reported that the educational setback post-2022 floods is severer than two years of Covid-19 school closures. Then, the economic toll that climate-related extreme weather events have is unimaginable, resulting in a total loss of $29.3 billion between 1992 and 2021.

This juncture calls for decisive action from global leaders. The urgency of funding and support to shield populations from climate disasters cannot be overstated. The survival of vulnerable communities in the country hinges on efforts taken by international stakeholders. Countries must uphold their promises to restore degraded lands and outline concrete steps in their national climate plans to halt and reverse the effects of climate change by 2030. Inaction bears a steep price, but proactive measures yield immense economic benefits.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2024.

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