March 18, 2016: PIPS holds Seminar on Climate Change for MPs and academia: The inclusion of climate change in the SDGs as well as the successful conclusion of the landmark international climate change agreement on the aegis of the UN Climate Summit held in Paris December 2015 has demonstrated the increasing salience of the climate change and the subsequent response at the global level. Such ventures are particularly important for country like Pakistan which has been suffering the brunt of climate change vulnerabilities on huge scale. With the aim to deliberate on this pertinent issue, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services, in collaboration with its partner Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, KAS, organized a one-day Seminar on Climate Change on Friday, March 18, 2016.
Ms Marriyum Aurangzeb, MNA and Convener Parliamentary SDGs Taskforce, was the Chief Guest who inaugurated the first session. Attended by around 80 participants including 10 Honorable Members of the parliamentary committees on Climate Change in Senate/NA, 04 Honorable Chairpersons from respective standing committees of climate change/environment in Provincial Assemblies of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh, faculty and students from QAU, FJWU, IIUI, NUST, Arid Agriculture University, and Riphah University; the event began with the National Anthem, followed by the recitation from Holy Quran. Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, gave the welcome remarks. In a very concise manner, Honorable MNA & National Convener SDGs, Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, highlighted the role of Parliamentarians for the promotion of initiatives on Environment & Climate Change.
Honorable Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Guest of Honour, Chaired the second and final sessions. Executive Director PIPS, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Sulehri, Executive Director SDPI introduced the issue of Climate Change as a Sustainable Development challenge. Mr. Sajjad Ahamd from the Ministry of Climate Change deliberated on “National Climate Change Policy of Pakistan and Government’s Initiatives.” CEO Lead Pakistan, Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, added the global perspectives to the discussion of policy responses to climate change. Worthy participants vigorously debated the issue during the Q & A session, and put forward various recommendations:
i. Citing huge losses Pakistan had incurred due to floods in recent years Honorable Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed termed the climate change a “security threat” for Pakistan.
ii. Furthermore, the devolution in the aftermath of the 18th amendment has decentralized the climate related policies, yet given an integrated nature of the challenge Center should take the lead in efforts aimed at dealing the issue of climate change;
iii. Climate Change has direct relationship that affects flora and fauna of the country as well as the whole environmental eco system; therefore, a mass awareness movement is needed. It should be included as part of curriculum at school and colleges in science, English and social studies disciplines.
iv. Development projects should be carried out in an environment resilient manner, in this regard the participants emphasized the need to carryout vigorous environment impact assessment of the CPEC projects;
v. Participants urged the government to proactively pursue the climate agenda and formulate such policies which are at par with the rest of the world; It was highlighted that Government of Pakistan, like their Chinese and Indian counterparts, should fulfill REPORTING requirements to be eligible for a substantial million dollar support by UN for countries undertaking climate-friendly steps/policies. and
vi. Last but not the least participants emphasized the government as well as parliament to actively engage the academia in dealing with climate change issue.
vii. A national taskforce on Climate Change should be established to oversee government’s initiatives.
The Guest of Honour and Session Chair, Honorable Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, presented shields to the Honorable MPs and keynote speakers. Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka presented vote of thanks at the end of the event.