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Pakistan sets an ambitious NDC for COP 26

Islamabad, OCT 16 /DNA/ – Experts and civil society representatives speaking at a national webinar on Saturday mentioned that Pakistan government has set an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being organized in Glasgow (UK). However, they urged the government to make such decisions more inclusive and participatory by engaging different stakeholders in the pre-decision process. Strangely, the government did not open the NDC’s process for wider civil society deliberations through sub-national and national consultative discourse.

They said reducing carbon emissions is the one goal under the UNFCCC but we also need to take into account the causes and impact of natural disasters and calamities the different parts of the country have been facing for over a decade. Massive tree plantation is on and much of it would add more stress on the already diminished water resources. Climatic conditions are making Pakistan more vulnerable to natural disasters. Financial and technical support to such issues shall also be part of the country’s NDC.

The national webinar was organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and DTN Saturday on the subject “UNFCCC COP26 – What shall Pakistan look for?” Special Assistant to Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam Khan was the keynote speaker. Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed hosted and moderated the discussion. The guest speakers included WWF Pakistan Director Environment Dr. Imran Khalid, Asstt. Professor Dr Nilofar Jamil (Guetta), Asstt. Prof. Dr. Khushboo Ejaz (Lahore), Marine Ecology expert Shahid Amjad (Karachi), senior scientist Global Change Impact Study Centre (GCISC) Dr. Muhammad Amjad , National Defense University Asstt. Professor Dr Imran Ashraf, SDGs Academy chairman Ammar Jafri, Development expert Aftan Alam Khan and Art and Design senior teacher Riffat Ara Baig.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam Khan said reduction in carbon emissions, cleaner energy and forestry are the main components of the National Determined Contribution (NDC) that has been presented to the COP26. Pakistan has already reduced 20 percent of its carbon emissions under the previously submitted NDC. Another 15 percent reduction is planned with the country’s own resources by 2030 while 35 percent may be reduced if Pakistan is provided financial support up to US$ 100 billion for major infrastructural development to enhance capacity of cleaner energy and to opt for nature based solutions. Pakistan needs US$ 6-14 billion for climate smart agriculture.

Malik Amin said despite climate change impact, covid-19 and debt crisis, Pakistan has shown remarkable progress on the climate action that has been appreciated by the World Bank too besides other international forums. According to a World Bank report Pakistan’s climate friendly development goes beyond 44 percent at the moment which is the highest on the world map.  

Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said widely inclusive and participatory approaches needed to develop NDCs. Pre-COP events shall include vigorous participation to propagate the country’s NDCs, financial and technical needs to influence the donors. Pakistan’s policy framework is much appreciable that shall be implemented in letter and spirit taking all stakeholders on board.

Munir said public awareness and inter-disciplinary coordination on climate change and its impacts, and relevant international and multilateral forums is very vital. Only a limited number of professionals know about Pakistan’s policy framework while there is a huge void to engage youth, the 63 percent of the population.

Aftab Alam Khan urged the government to make CPEC projects climate friendly and curtail coal-fired power plants. The civil society organizations shall be engaged in the international negotiation processes.

Dr Zaigham Habib said water development and management is on the low priority for which the country has to suffer severely. Glacial melting is on the rise while GLOF-II could not take up required measures despite available huge funding. There is no substantial coordination among the federal and sub-national governments, inter-ministerial and coordination with other stakeholders.

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