Climate change is the most fundamental challenge ever to confront humanity

16 September 2009 | International news release

IUCN and Ministry of Environment prepare for Copenhagen

ISLAMABAD, September 16 2009: All eyes are now on Copenhagen, venue for the vital Climate Change negotiatons to be held in December. Cognizant of the fact that Climate Change poses an imminent threat, the Government of Pakistan is also endeavouring to address it through policy changes and national initiatives and IUCN, with finanial assistance of Department for International . Development, UK is assisting in these efforts.

Together, they organized a workshop on Wednesday, 16 September 2009, at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. The objective was to map Pakistan’s vulnerabilities and chart a future course of action vis-à-vis climate change adaptation and mitigation, to be discussed at the COP 15 negotiations in Copenhagen.

The workshop was attended by members of national assembly, senior officials from the Ministry of Environment, other federal government departments, subject specialists, donors, and representatives of civil society organizations, academia and other stakeholders.

In his inaugural address, Federal Secretary Environment, Kamran Lashari said time was of the essence in meeting the challenges posed by climate change and government needed to act fast. He mentioned the increasing occurance of natural disasters and changing rainfall patterns, pointing the erratic patterns witnessed in Islamabad and Karachi.

Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, said that until emitters and Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development (OECD) countries don’t cap and reduce their emissions, the phenomenon will go on to pose more hazards to the world population. He also informed about the development of a National Inventory of Green House Gases (GHG).

Director General (Enviornment), Ministry of Enviornment, Jawed Ali Khan highlighted the threat to the coastal communities posed by rising sea level along 990 kilometers of the country’s coastline. This, and rising sea surface temeprature can wreak havoc on many coastal towns.

In her presentation, Deputy Secretary (Climate Change), Ministry of Environment Neelofur Hafeez said that being very low emitter, Government of Pakistan was focussing more on adaptation rather than mitigation. She mentioned that being a developing country, Pakistan’s constructive engagement at COP 15 aims at ensuring that any future arrangements do not compromise the country’s development, energy and food security.

Mapping Pakistan’s vulnerabilities to climate change, Dr. Parvaiz Amir, in his presentation outlined recent climatic trends e.g. Rise in mean temperature of 0.6 to 1.0 degree centigrade; 30 to 40% decrease in rainfall; 0.5 to 0.7% increase in solar radiation over southern half of the country; and 3 to 5% decrease in cloud cover in central Pakistan with increase in sunshine hours resulting in higher temperature. He also mentioned renewed occurrence of dust and sand storms and hail in large patches, micro cloud bursts and shifting patterns of precipitation.

Talking about Pakistan’s vulnerabilities, he listed droughts and floods; stress on water resources; health risks; compromised food security; fragile coastline; forest resources; meagre energy resources; economic and social vulnerability and political instability.

Translating vulnerabilities into threats and values, Dr. Amir warned that there may be life, economic and livelihood losses for large swathes of population of the country.

After these presentations, a moderated panel discussion was held with question from the audience.

The workshop ended with a vote of thanks and with the resolve to continue working on climate change issues with renewed vigour.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact:

Shahzad Ahmad
Programme Officer, IUCN Islamabad Office
H. 9. St. 64, F- 8/4, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel. +92 51 2850250

About IUCN

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

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