Lead 04-28_optSTAFF REPORT IBD: Pakistan is highly vulnerable to extreme negative impacts of climate change in shape of rising temperatures, unscheduled rains as well as floods, land erosion, dwindling agriculture yields, degradation in environment, and the Climate Change Division and its attached departments need to play their part for checking environmental degradation, checking pollution and achieving sustainable development in the country.

Pakistan presently is signatory to different international protocols and conventions that bind the country to meet the international standards on environment and other related sectors. The protocols and conventions include Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal (1994), Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and Pesticides (2005), Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2008), Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1992).

However, the progress on this front seems very bleak as the most of the agreed areas are still unattended or unable to meet the standards due to multiple factors particularly paucity of funds and shallow approach of political authorities towards this critical issue.

According to a fresh international study, Pakistan is facing upto $5 billion loss per annum due to the environment degradation and climate change impacts.

“Officials of Climate Change Divisions wings and attached departments need to play their part for checking environmental degradation, checking pollution and achieving sustainable development,” Climate Change Division Secretary, Rana Hasan Abbas, has been quoted as urging the officials of the Division during a meeting recently held in Islamabad.

The meeting reviewed the goals and targets set for the Fiscal Year 2013-14 by the Divisions international cooperation, environment, development and forestry wings as well as attached departments that included the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The secretary said that since Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change and there is strong need to tackle the fast changing weather pattern through viable mitigation and adaptation plans.

He directed the meeting to chalk out effective mitigation and adaptation plans keeping in view the countrys extreme vulnerability to the erratic weather patterns, floods and landslides.

In his opening remarks, Joint Secretary of the Climate Change Division, Dilshad Ahmed Babar, told the meeting that the IC Wing is also monitoring imports of the Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) through endeavouring for introduction of natural refrigerants that are critical for protection of ozone layer.

The meeting was informed that different awareness-raising and capacity building training programmes have also been planned for the current financial year for refrigeration technicians, custom officers to motivate them to play their part for HCFC phase-out and alternatives is critical for protection of human health in particular and environmental in general.

During his presentation, Deputy Secretary (Development), Rehan Hamid, briefed about the development plans and activities to be carried out during the ongoing financial year in collaboration with international donors, stakeholders.

Director General of the Pakistan Environent Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Asif Shuja Khan, that as many as 50 industries have been monitored located in the limits of Islamabad while efforts are being made to ensure that these industries do not pollute the environment of the city and its adjoining areas.

Deputy Inspector General of the Forest Wing in the Climate Change Division, Abdul Manuf Qaimkhani, briefed about forestry uplift plans at all levels to tackle impact of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.

He said that Pakistan National Wetlands Policy (draft) has been prepared and soon it will be submitted to Council of Common Interest (CCI). The wing is pushing hard for the approval and implementation of the policy this year.

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