Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : As the global climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow have now drawn to a close. We know the science: we have just nine years to halve emissions to limit warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Already at 1.1°C, Extreme weather is wrecking the lives of the most vulnerable and driving greater inequality. And the impact is expected to get worse even if we limit warming to 1.5°C. A stakeholders’ workshop on coastal climate vulnerabilities, challenges and opportunities, organized by Oxfam and WWF Pakistan, concluded today. Experts from civil society, the government and media came together to promote coordinated efforts for addressing major climate issues of the coastal areas. The consensus was that this climate crisis requires urgent action and strong coordination towards enhancing inter-departmental and cross-sectoral efforts, which could accelerate impactful initiatives to address climate change.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, governments and businesses showed how they could make previously unthinkable changes in the face of an imminent threat: flights were grounded, new bike lanes appeared in cities, and working from home cut traffic congestion. If we come together and act fast, we can use this unprecedented moment to act differently in our own lives and push our governments to reshape our economies and build a better tomorrow for us all.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Abdul Rahim Soomro, Secretary Culture Department, government of Sindh Chief Guest of the ceremony said that the Coastal Climate Vulnerability in Pakistan still needs better attention at federal and provincial level to broadly understand the issue and for its inclusive solution. He urged the need of persistent actions and coordinated efforts to ensure a resilient future for all “it is the time we think of climate change a development issue that has the potential to increase social differences and injustice especially for those who are already living on the edge in the face of climate change”
Welcoming the participants Oxfam’s Project Manager Food Security, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzaib said, “Oxfam is respected as a force that is part of the global movement for climate justice. Pakistan’s poorest communities are hit worst by the climate crisis. We work with our partners, government departments, community women and men to put in place adaptation and disaster risk reduction actions that also address the causes of vulnerability: inequality, gender injustice and poverty. We support people affected by the climate crisis to participate in adaptation, risk and development planning.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tahir Rasheed, Regional Director, WWF-Pakistan said that climate change is posing a serious threat to present and coming generations. It is causing biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and exacerbating freshwater scarcity in Pakistan. He shared, “WWF Pakistan is working to enhance resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change through inclusive development and mitigation strategies.” He also informed that capacity and resilience of vulnerable communities is enhanced towards sustainable management of natural resources dependent livelihood. Community based afforestation of mangroves has been initiated under which over 100,000 mangrove saplings were planted in the Indus delta and Karachi coast. A total 90 SHEROs, female climate activists from local communitis are actively working for plantation, post-care and monitoring activities along Sindh coast. ‘It is a high time to formulate a strong network of the experts and policy makers that can support efforts to reverse climate change and enhance environmental protection across Sindh’, he added.
Despite sharp falls in carbon emissions in 2020 linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis continued to grow. Extreme weather disasters have not stalled – with the poorest and most marginalized people suffering the most. The climate crisis is driven by the accumulation of emissions in the atmosphere over time. From 1990 to 2015, global annual carbon emissions grew by around 60%, and the total emissions added to the atmosphere since the mid-1800s approximately doubled.
During 2020, and with around 1C of global heating, climate change has fuelled deadly cyclones, huge locust swarms that have devastated crops and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across the world. The over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling this crisis. Extreme carbon inequality is driving the world to the climate brink and close to exceeding the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement.
The workshop provided a common platform to share intensity of selected environmental issues along the coast of Pakistan and highlight efforts for addressing those challenges. Unequal economic growth slows poverty reduction rates. But it has another cost: it means that the global carbon budget is being rapidly depleted, not for the purpose of lifting all of humanity to a decent standard of living, but to a large extent to expand the consumption of a minority of the world’s very richest people. This is an injustice which is felt most cruelly by two groups who are least responsible for the climate crisis: the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people around the world today – already struggling with climate impacts today – and future generations who will inherit a depleted carbon budget and an even more dangerous climate.
The joint initiative of WWF-Pakistan and Oxfam aims to enhance the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change through inclusive development and mitigation strategies. The project integrates a stakeholder inclusive implementation strategy and working towards developing a strong research based to determine the scale of vulnerability of natural resource dependent communities through Vulnerability Risk Assessment at Keti Bunder and Kharo Chan. The work carried our as part of this project together with consultations and research has helped in drafting sectoral Local Action Plan of Adaptation for vulnerable coastal communities of Keti Bunder and Kharo Chan and its integration into the polices and development budgets. The work carried out under this project also successfully demonstrated adaptation models such as small scale aquaculture as an alternative livelihood source as well as cultivation of soan grass as alternate fodder crops for livestock otherwise rely on mangroves for fodder. A research to assess the role of mangroves in DRR and economic valuation of DRR associated ecosystem services has also been carried out as part of this initiative.