The Express Tribune: They were speaking at a conference on “Climate Change and Disaster Management” organised by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms on Thursday.
The speakers stressed the need for a comprehensive disaster management policy.
Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal admitted to the government’s inability to face such catastrophes alone and stressed that a collaborative approach involving the private sector and academia was the way forward.
He said the government was preoccupied with reviving the economy amid political and economic instability. “There is a dire need for researchers, private sector, NGOs and philanthropists to work together in creating a solid disaster management policy”, he said.
Iqbal said that most crises facing the country today were due to lack of planning since the last 14 years. “Since the recurring climate changes have become an annual phenomenon in Pakistan, Ministry of Planning and Development has been inviting think tanks to utilise available technical and academic knowledge and avert further disasters particularly floods in Pakistan.”
The minister said, “The real challenge is not how to cope with repercussions of climate change. Rather, it is to translate available knowledge into action.” He said floods can be converted into opportunity with better water resource management.
The minister said that Vision 2025 outlines a clear policy of water security in Pakistan in terms of increase in water storage capacity, establishment of institutional mechanism like National Water Commission to manage all sources of water, and investment in proven technologies to minimise water wastage.
He added that Pakistan was one of the few countries that were moving from water-stressed to water-scarce countries. “In this backdrop, floods can be utilised as an opportunity. Unfortunately, institutional structure for water management in Pakistan is fragmented and there is no holistic national water management policy.”
The conference was attended by researchers, hydrologists, civil society, environmentalists and disaster management and donor agencies including the United Nations Development Programme and Asian Development Bank.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>