‘Wake up and take over! Before global warming does’


The need of the hour is to ensure policy planning and proper implementation to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change while pursuing an ambitious agenda to tackle climate change impacts on the country.
This was observed at a day-long Climate Change Conference held on Thursday at the Makli Gymkhana in the coastal city of Thatta.
The largest meeting of its kind in the coastal belt of Pakistan was organised by the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) in collaboration with Drynet Pakistan.
The conference aimed at helping to mobilise a partnership on a national scale for implementation of a sustainable strategy on impacts of global warming.
The conference on climate change delivered a breakthrough on the response of stakeholders to climate change and closed with the adoption of a number of demands that will strengthen global efforts to fight impacts of climate change.
More than 150 participants at the meeting highlighted the continuous onslaughts of climate change in the form of recent cyclones, floods, heavy rains and flash floods that have affected millions of people along the coastal belt in Sindh.
The conference was attended by a number of experts from civil society organisations, development sector professionals, donor organisations, officials of government departments, UN organisations, research institutes and the media.
The speakers at the conference were of the view that the poor and vulnerable people across Pakistan are facing grave challenges due to the disasters caused by global warming and that a result based strategy for climate change adaptation and preparedness must be formed and followed.
Presenting the theme paper “Living with Climate Disaster: Impact of Climate Change Challenges and the Plight of the Poor, and adaptation strategies-with a Special Focus on coastal areas of Pakistan”, SCOPE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tanveer Arif said that climate change is expected to lead to worsening extreme weathers like heavy rainfalls, droughts, floods, air pollution and myriad of health problems. “The adverse effects of natural climate change factors should be mitigated that will reduce additional stress through climate change adaptation,” he added.
Presenting ‘Impacts of Climate Change’, International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Dr Ghulam Qadir gave an account on the worldwide impact perspective, affirming that climate change is mainly anthropogenic (man made) and is one of the most serious threats humanity and environment have ever faced, which if not addressed will cause catastrophic effects to the planet’s ecosystems, biodiversity and infrastructure.
Senior Adviser of Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP), Zulfiqar Halepoto, was of the view that civil society organisations have to play a greater role in advocacy and research on climate change impacts and disaster management in order to understand climate change affects and help prepare institutions and communities with the realistic coping mechanisms. “Preventive measures to reduce disaster risk are most effective when they involve participation at all levels, from the local community, through the provincial government, to the national, regional and international,” he added.
Other speakers including World Wide Fund for Nature’s Nisar Panhwar, SDSC University-Jamshoro’s Prof Dr Pervez A Pathan and Sindh Coastal Authority’s Mustafa Sarwar Abbasi highlighted the loopholes in the policies and suggested many practical approaches to tackle with climate changes.
The participants at the conference also took part in the discussion and the hosts issued a joint declaration of actions at the end, presented a set of demands for the government for meeting the desired results.
The ‘Thatta Declaration’ on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations in the Coastal Belt of Pakistan’ was finalised and adopted by the participants of the conference to be taken up by the government and all other institutions relevant in order to pave the way for adaptation of global warming strategy for the Sindh coastal areas.
The conference participants also called for the provision of adequate financial, organisational and staff capacities to implement the recommendations contained in the declaration.