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  • Pakistan to prepare climate change strategy post floods

[ISLAMABAD] Pakistan is drafting a national climate change strategy with an action plan to mitigate adverse events like the recent floods which were thought to be related to local and global climate change.
 
After the announcement last month (22 October), Pakistan's minister for environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi told SciDev. Net that the strategy would help deal with events like the one "which disturbed ecological patterns and caused massive floods in Pakistan this summer".
 
The strategy will, with technical assistance from the United Nations, address issues of adaptation and Pakistan-specific scenarios in sectors such as energy, agriculture, water, disaster management, capacity building and public awareness. 
 
It will act on scientific data and research findings by the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) and Pakistan's Meteorological Department, which predict more floods in Pakistan in the coming years as average temperature over Pakistan will increase in the range 1.3-1.5 degrees Celsius by 2020.
 
Pakistan's rivers are mainly fed by the Hind Khush-Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers that are predicted to melt faster due to global warming. IN the 2010 floods, the Indus River inundated an area of 100,000 square kilometres while another 60,000 square kilometres was flooded by other rives such as the Kabul and the Swat, according to figures available with Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.
 
Pakistan's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were estimated at 309 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2008. The country contributes 0.8 per cent of the total global GHGs, ranking 135 in per capita emissions. 
 
Besides the threat of increased floods, other projected impacts of global warming in Pakistan include loss of biodiversity and forests and higher incidence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria.
 
UN lead consultant on the strategy, Qamar Zaman, told SciDev.Net that research work has already been done on "collection of data, prediction of qualitative and quantitative impacts, comparison of alternatives, evaluation of preventive measures, analysis of global research from local perspective, and related training and monitoring arrangements."
 
"The draft of the national climate change strategy shall be sent to the stakeholders for their comments in the next two months and we hope to finish the task within the next six months," Zaman said

At present, Pakistan does not have a national policy or strategy on climate change although the 'Pakistan Environmental Protection Act-1997' is in place.