Altaf Hamid Rao;
MIRPUR (AJK: Experts at a day-long consultative workshop on Climate Change Strategy and Action Plans for AJK here on Thursday called for devising integrated strategies and plans mutually by all the related stake holders from the private and public sector organizations, civil society, media and the NGOs for the establishment of Climate Change related baseline data for Azad Jammu Kashmir.
The workshop was hosted to raise awareness among all the stake holders including diverse segments of the civil society, by the state-run Climate Change Center (CCC) of AJK.
Divisional Commissioner Mirpur Muhammad Tayyeb Chaudhry inaugurated the workshop. He emphasized the need for ensuring water, food and energy security and protecting different sectors from climate change impacts. He underlined that government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has already established the Climate Change Center with the support of Asian Development Bank under Flood Emergency Reconstruction and resilience Project.
Muhammad Tayyeb continued that Pakistan was among the top most countries vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and Azad Jammu Kashmir was one of the most vulnerable regions in Pakistan. The Div Commissioner underlined the fact that the manifestation of natural disasters such as floods and landlides in the State, has caused great damage to life and property of the mountain population and physical infrastructure. “As such, the forest, water and land resources of the State need to be protected to safeguard the catchment of the Mangla reservoir and other potential hydropower stations, habitat and biodiversity, agriculture, physical infrastructure, animal and human health”, he added.
Addressing the concluding session of the workshop, the chief guest – Vice Chancellor state-run Mirpur University of Science & Technology (MUST) Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman (Sitara –e-Imtiaz) emphasized for making the climate change as the part of the syllabus in the country including AJK with prime focus to solve the issues related to the climate change with scientific term besides giving scientific look to each related issue, he added.
Praising the holding of the workshop on Climate change, the Vice Chancellor termed it a strong source of awareness among the stake holder institutions besides the masses vis a vis their due role to avert threats to the security through different forms of climate. “We should clearly identify the areas to the mitigation of climate change and adaptation strategies and action plan in AJK”, Dr. Habib ur Rehman said and added various small assignments to this direction could be exercised without any funding.
The Vice Chancellor MUST said that his University will extend all possible due help and assistance to all the related government functionaries for awareness and improve of the areas of the Climate Change. He applauded the role of the concerned state functionaries on their respective responsibilities of viz a viz climate change strategy and the action plans for AJK.
Addressing the workshop, Director General Climate Change Center of AJK government Dr. Ch. Aurangzeb, Director General Environmental Protection Agency AJK Raja Muhammad Razaq Khan and other officials and experts from the two institutions highlighted the salient features and objectives of holding the workshop.
The Climate Change Center’s head Dr. Ch. Aurangzeb disclosed that Climate Change Center has been established in AJK to develop the state climate change policy, strategies and sectorial action plans, deivse mechanism and guidelines for their implementation, resource mobilization for climate change mitigation and adaptation at state, national and international levels, mainstream climate change impacts into AJK sectorial policies, strategies, development planning and budgetary processes.
He disclosed that TOR being inked for onward submission for legislation related to the issues of climate change. Dr. Aurangzeb disclosed that the government of Pakistan have issued the grant of Rs. 23 million for the Climate Change sector in AJK and major chunk of these funds have gone to the Forest Department for the development and progress through reforestation and other means of uplift of the forests sector in the liberated territory.
He further said that the emergence of the CCC was also aimed at to meet AJK’s obligations under United Nations Convention on Climate Change, United Nations Convention to Combat desertification and UN convention on Biological Diversity, promote inter-sectoral coordination in climate change vulnerabilities and action plans, support AJK Forest Department in the development of guidelines for sustainable Forest Management, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, stabilization of hill slopes through bio-engineering, ensure implementation of sustainable development plans, strategies and programs, awareness raising and capacity building on climate change and research and development and climate change governance, he underlined.
EPA Divisional Chief Sardar Idrees Mahmood said on this occasion that CCC has developed drafts of the Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Strategies and Action Plans for Azad Jammu & Kashmir after the formal approvel of AJK Climate Change policy by the AJK Cabinet. The AJK-govt. controlled Climate Change Center (CCC) is functioning at Planning & Development Department of the State Government with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank under Flood Emergency Reconstruction and Resilience Project, he added.
Former Inspector General for protection of forests in AJK Dr. Bashir Ahmed Wani, ex chief conservator of forests in AJK Raja Khizer Hayat, former Conservator Forests Malik Nisaar Ahmed, Member state-run AJK Environmental Protection Council and President Environmental Journalist Forum AJK Altaf Hamid Rao, Director Climate change Rasheed Shah, veteran journalist and analyst Jalal ud din Mughal and other experts from various nation-building institutions also tabled their respective inputs for the climate change and its impacts in AJK.