Provincial Consultative Workshop Muzaffarabad AJK
Oct 19 2017 | 01:08:27
historical and future trends of climate change at the national, provincial and
state level, the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change in collaboration
with the Ministry of Climate Change held a
consultative workshop for developing recommendations for an
institutional framework for achieving the objectives of the provincial climate
change policy that has recently been adopted by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Among those speaking
at the event were Federal Secretary Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, AJK
Minister for Planning & Development, Finance and Health Dr. Muhammad Najeeb
Naqi, the AJK Addl. Chief Secretary for Planning & Development Dr. Asif
Hussain, Executive Director of the Global Change Impact Studies Center Dr. Tariq
Banuri, Chief Executive of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change Ms. Aisha
Khan, and Research Fellow at Sustainable Development Policy Institute Dr. Imran
The event was well attended by the public sector official, civil
society actors, academia and media persons.
introductory remarks, Ms. Aisha Khan welcomed and thanked the dignified guests,
speakers and participants for attending this very important event for
developing recommendations and mapping out a framework for the implementation
of the newly established AJK climate change policy.
Imran Khalid from SDPI stressed upon the need for focusing on adaptation and
the integration of adaptation measures into all planning and development
processes. He also mentioned the need for raising awareness and knowledge about
climate change issues in the local communities and the public since they are
the ones who actually make an impact regardless of how well the policies are
Asif Hussain described the highly important profile of AJK, particularly in
terms of environment, water, and forests; glacial rivers that are critical to
the water network system of Pakistan, namely the Neelum, Jhelum, Punch, and
Kunhar Rivers, flow through AJK from Indian Occupied Kashmir and onwards to the
rest of Pakistan. This in turn makes the AJK region extremely important to the
climatic and environmental profile of Pakistan.
Asif Hussain described the serious challenges faced by AJK from climate change
including droughts, dwindling forest cover and a shift in monsoon and
precipitation patterns, which in turn affect the cropping and farming patterns,
among other negative consequences.
Syed Abu Ahmad Akif highlighted that many development initiatives specifically
related to environment and climate change are largely carried out through
international development assistance and the government also needs to increase
funding for these sectors. Secretary Akif added that climate change is a
reality that can no longer be deferred or ignored. He said that approximately
50% of AJK was under forest cover in the pre-partition era, which has now been
reduced to less than 10%.
Tariq Banuri stated that climate change can no longer be treated as a threat
that may occur at some point in the future. On the contrary, he stressed upon
the fact that the phenomenon is already here, and we are living in the age of
“committed climate change”, which has two major impacts: firstly, the increased
occurrence of extreme weather events like floods, droughts, heatwaves, cold
waves, and storms; and secondly, the movement and increased prevalence of
diseases across elevations, altitudes, and geographical locations.
Dr. Muhammad Najeeb
Naqi reiterated the strategic and geographical importance of AJK from an
environmental and natural resource perspective and the need for addressing
climate change and environmental risks to the region to safeguard regional and
national interests. He stated that among other factors, the rivers of AJK flow
through the entire length of Pakistan all the way south to Sindh. He said that it is critical in this
regard to address climate change risks through appropriate adaptation measures
and upstream watershed management.
Minister further pledged all-out government support to all stakeholders
including civil society for further strengthening the subnational climate
change policy and its implementation.