Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, has said that UN’s recent report ‘Economic Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific’ has concluded that developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region continue to fare well in comparison to the rest of the world.
“But increased frequency in climate change-induced hydrological and geological disasters are most likely to scuttle Asia-Pacific economic growth trajectory as long as disaster preparedness is not strengthened in the region and public infrastructure, agriculture, water, health sectors and human settlements are not made climate-resilient,’ he warned in a news statement released here on Sunday.
Mushahidullha Khan said the report released last week by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) itself highlights that the growth potential of Asia-Pacific developing countries, together which are home to the 743 million extremely poor people, is being held back by infrastructure shortages, while existing infrastructures are prone to the escalating number of natural disasters.
According to Asian Development Bank report ‘The Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific 2013’, the storms and floods, in particular, are becoming endemic to the region, and their increasing frequency and severity can reduce economic growth and development, he said.
Almost all Asia-Pacific countries – particularly Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Philippines – are highly vulnerable to climate change.
According to the world-acclaimed Global Climate Risk Index-2015, five of the top 10 countries most affected by climate change-induced disasters during 1994-2013 are located in the Asia-Pacific regions, namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam, the minister highlighted.
The recent earthquake in Nepal, ongoing erratic devastating winter rains/hailstorm in Pakistan’s north and India, Typhoon Noul in Philippines provide a fresh reminder of how natural disasters can reverse economic and social gains, with massive loss of life and livelihoods, Mushahidullha Khan recounted.