The News: Despite growth of agricultural output Pakistan is still ‘food insecure’ and facing high level of ‘hunger and malnutrition”, and climate change is threat to this country that can be tackled by educating communities, said Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Dr Rashid Amjad.
He was addressing project inception workshop on ‘Climate Change Adaptation; Water and Food Insecurity in Pakistan’ here on Friday. The workshop was organised by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
Dr Nadeem-Ul-Haque, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, was the chief guest on the occasion, and Vice Chancellor, PIDE, Dr Rashid Amjad chaired the session. The project gets technical and financial support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The research partners include PIDE, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and Social Policy Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi. The overall objective of the project is to generate quality information on the subject and building research capacity.
Dr Rashid Amjad said that Pakistan was the gift of Indus and our economy was built on it and still majority of our people depend for their livelihood on agriculture irrigated with its waters. About 80 % of our exports are related to agriculture sector, he added. He emphasized that climate change was reality and being most vulnerable country Pakistan needs to build resilience by adaptation like strengthening communities.
Dr Nadeem-Ul-Haque said that when we talk about climate change we do talk about water, food insecurities, environmental degradation and eco-system but ignore to talk about economic growth which is co-related and an inter-linked issue.
He emphasized that research should give due attention to analysis of such linkages.He was of the view that “We have to grow faster to meet the climate change as with lack of resources, we won’t be able to adapt and undertake mitigating measures like building flood or earth quake proof houses and will relay on mass migration like moving away from flood or earth quake plates.”
Sara Ahmed, Senior Programme Specialist, IDRC from New Delhi introduced the IDRC’s Climate Change and Water Programme and hoped that the research would feed into local and national plans of action in climate change adaptation strategies. The main features of the projects of research partners were also presented by respective project leaders. While presenting the PIDE’s project on “Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security in Pakistan: Adaptation Options and Strategies” Dr Munir said that the overall objective of the project was to contribute to the formulation of policies, programmes and action plans to adapt to and mitigate the adverse impact of climate change and ensure that government’s overall objective of moving the Pakistan economy to a high, sustainable and inclusive growth is realized.
He highlighted that the climate change and food security issues were complex, multidimensional and interlinked having impacts at local, national and global levels.
Dr Munir said that the changing temperature, erratic precipitation, humidity concentrations and frequently occurring extreme weather events were adversely affecting agriculture, water, coasts, livelihood, human health, and food security in Pakistan. He referred to the various studies cautioning that the cereal crops yields could decrease up to 30% by the end of 21st century due to climate change, whereas overall agricultural productivity may decline up to 16% by 2080 in Pakistan and livestock production could decline by 20-30% due to rise in temperature.
Dr Khalida Ghaus, Managing Director, Social Policy Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi introduced the project titled “Gender and Social Vulnerability to Climate Change: A study in Disaster Prone Areas in Sindh”. She said climate change was linked with various other factors like social development and gender based adaptations and their project was to focus on such linkages in three districts of Sindh.
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