(Sherry calls for prioritizing Pakistan’s adaptation needs)

By Newsdesk Aug16,2022

ISLAMABAD:While making a presentation to the cabinet on Tuesday, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman called the climate catastrophe in Pakistan a national security crisis.

She stated that, “Pakistan is on the frontlines of the climate catastrophe and is in the middle of the food, climate, water, population and environmental crisis.” The Minister said the country is experiencing stress in all these sectors and there needs to be synchronization between all the relevant ministries and stakeholders to simultaneously plan adaptation actions in these sectors.

She said we are glad that the Prime Minister has announced the formation of an inter-ministerial committee on climate adaptation with participation of agriculture, food security, water and others to sit together and devise an action plan for adaptation for all these sectors.

She said Pakistan cannot afford that we work in silos, adding that we need to prioritize adaptation action beyond mitigation and work in these sectors to reduce our vulnerability to climate change. Emphasizing on Pakistan’s climate calamity, Sherry Rehman reiterated that “Pakistan is 8th most affected country by climate change in the world. She said we will be water scarce by 2025.

She said the country has faced 152 extreme events in the last two decades with constant shifts in rainfall patterns, intensity and frequency. She said we are also home to the hottest cities in the world for three years straight with temperatures rising up to 53.7C which is an unlivable situation.

All this is having an impact on food security and we have up to 40% food insecure population, she said, adding that we have lost 1.8 million acres of fertile land to sea intrusion due to rising sea levels and lose 27,000 acres of forest annually. This is unprecedented and we cannot afford to have our priorities only set on mitigation, the Minister said, adding that we will be focusing on climate smart agriculture, on water security as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

She said the Ministry is working on an Adaptation Policy and Plan and have set up priority actions also in food security, pollution reduction and control, urban resilience and even in health because we need climate resilient health systems to deal with a variety of health issues that come with climate alterations.

This is why the committee is important so that relevant government departments can synchronize their efforts for climate action in Pakistan, Sherry Rehman said. She said this is a decisive decade for the country because the threats that had been previously projected for 2050 are happening now. “Failure to act immediately will lead to worse devastation at an unprecedented scale”, she warned.

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