ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's newly launched national climate change policy (NCCP) aims at natural resource conservation at home, but it also sees regional and bilateral agreements as key to ensuring water, food and energy security.
The policy will be implemented by its provincial governments. At its launch last month (26 February), Pakistan's minister for climate change Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan said efforts would be made to strengthen provincial environment departments to enable them to carry out relevant functions devolved to them.
Khan said that a national plan of action has been designed to effectively implement the NCCP. The plan, he said, factors in risks and vulnerabilities posed by climate change in various development areas, including energy, food and water; as well as appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures.
Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, vice-president of the World Meteorological Organisation and lead author of the NCCP, emphasised harnessing of large-scale scientific research and introduction of the latest technologies.
'Shifting climatic patterns suggest integrated and applied research to benefit the region and the world at large, especially in terms of food, water and energy security, leading ultimately to national security,' Chaudhry told SciDev.Net.
The new policy moots the creation of a 'South Asian Research Centre on Climate Change' and suggests getting the Hindukush- Karakorum-Himalayan countries to declare glaciers as 'protected areas'.
Also envisaged are possibilities of joint watershed management of trans-boundary catchment areas involving the neighbouring countries – particularly India and Afghanistan – to safeguard water inflows into Pakistan.
Representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Pakistan, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, said the policy would work to cap carbon emissions by enhancing forest cover. 'China and India have increased their vegetation cover to 26 and 23 per cent while Pakistan stands far behind at 4.8 per cent, which is alarming given the vulnerability,' he said.
Marc-André Franche, country director for UNDP, described Pakistan as being 'among the most vulnerable countries facing climate risk's and needs to devise mechanisms for greener growth and sustainable development.
Franche also observed that Pakistan is good at carving out policies, but had a poor record of implementation.
Federal secretary for climate change, Muhammad Ali Gardezi, told SciDev.Net that the government intends to sustain economic growth through pro-poor and gender-sensitive adaptation and mitigation.