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‘Governance reforms a must for climate resilient Pakistan’  


ISLAMABAD, JAN 14: Speakers at a webinar on “the Geneva roadmap for a climate resilient Pakistan” said that it is unlikely to mature all the $10 billion commitments for Pakistan’s post-flood recovery and rehabilitation. So, Pakistan needs to go for institutional and governance reforms to combat the challenges of climate change in the long-run. A country-wide efficient adaptation plan shall be worked out on a bottom-up approach alongside religiously implementation of conservation strategies.

Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) organized the webinar on Saturday. The climate change expert Ali Tauqeer Sheikh was the keynote speaker. Other guest speakers included Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed, Lahore Garrison University assistant professor International Relations Dr. Zainab Ahmed, Economist at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Dr. Khalid Mahmood, and climate advocacy specialist Zahra Khalid Haque.

Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director and a well-known climate advocacy expert Munir Ahmed introduced the subject of the webinar. He said the UN and Pakistan cohosted the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ on January 9 at Geneva to present a $31.2 billion “Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Framework (4RF)”, which lays out a multisectoral strategy for rehabilitation and reconstruction in a climate-resilient and inclusive manner. The other key objective was to secure international support and forge long-term partnerships for building Pakistan’s climate resilience and adaptation.

Munir Ahmed said it was the first ever UN donor conference at Geneva to raise funds for any country. Pakistan needs to act wisely to safeguard its climate vulnerable communities with a stronger local governance system. The inclusive bottom-up approach, and multi-stakeholder      monitoring for transparency will support sustainable recovery and rehabilitation.

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said: Resilient development is not possible without institutional reforms. The urgency is staring us in the face with a current price tag of eight per cent GDP loss and projected GDP shrinking 20pc by 2050. In fact, resilience, reforms and economic development have become intrinsically linked. Pakistan’s existing political and economic systems breed climate vulnerability, made worse by food and water insecurity, degraded land and polluted air. The proposition is relatively straightforward: higher degree of preparedness can help us avoid public and private losses from climate-induced disasters. Resources saved can be invested in climate-smart development.

He said the first order of business is to build political consensus that reforms for climate security are essential and cannot be postponed any longer. Not all international pledges will be delivered this month or during this fiscal year, even if many are recounted, recycled and repurposed existing commitments. Yet, Pakistan is notorious for delayed implementation of its public sector projects. Unfinished projects have accumulated over time to an unbelievable number — more than 1,200 projects worth Rs1.6 trillion. Top-down investments cannot succeed without strengthening the coping capacity of local communities.

Dr. Zainab Ahmed said the most devastating floods of 2022 is an environmental issue but implications are geographic, economic, political, security and social. The resultant crisis multiplies the already existing water, food, energy and economic problems which connects with social problems translating into political crises. Pakistan’s vulnerability to Climate Change was long ago recognized by the international community and $40 billion was estimated for environment mitigation and adaptation measures. Pakistan has shown huge resilience always but it requires a lot more support. It’s a global war which Pakistan should not be fighting alone. But certainly this doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility. The first step is to start aggressive awareness among people about environment mitigation and adaptation measures. And the second step should be to start community level work to save and restore the environment.

Zahra Khalid Haque said the Geneva conference offered Pakistan a rare opportunity to leap towards climate-compatible development. The Geneva Roadmap relates to meeting the immediate challenges of recovery and reconstruction, requiring minimum funding of 16.3 billion dollars over a period of three years. Pakistan would meet half the funding from its own resources but will count on the continued assistance of its bilateral and multilateral partners to bridge the gap.

Dr Khalid Mahmood said Pakistan is at a difficult time in terms of economic management. With increasing geo-political uncertainty resulting in falling economic growth around the world our economy was also feeling the pressure of contraction. While being prone to climate change and recurring natural disasters our economic woes have further exacerbated with a devastating flood. Our fiscal position is weak along with dwindling foreign reserves.

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