Ambassadors, high commissioners, diplomats along with their families, members of civil society, students and young children participated in large number in a cycling event marking Climate Diplomacy Day on Sunday.
Like every year, this year too, the Union (EU) in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had organized the event.
Adviser to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and EU ambassador Androulla Kaminara were the leading participants in the brief cycling event and bicycled along with the other bicyclists the entire route from the PNCA to Serena Chowk and then returned to the venue.
He also addressed the ceremony that followed to highlight the need for a robust climate policy and efforts to jointly counter climate deteriorating forces.
Screening of a documentary followed by a debate competition among students of various Islamabad schools were also highlights of the day. A student of Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) Saleha Ahmed won the debate competition.
In her opening remarks the new European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said the EU was committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change and wanted its full implementation.
This was perhaps Androulla Kaminara’s first major interaction with media since she took over the EU Pakistan as its head earlier this month.
The EU envoy was of the view that EU was alive to the goal of reducing emissions by at least 40pc and for that purpose allout efforts would be made.
“It has been proved that in already stressed societies climate change multiplies their woes. I have seen myself climate change affecting badly various countries”.
She said the EU had earmarked 180 million euros for various climate change related projects in Pakistan and there were certain areas in which the EU planned to help Pakistan in order to overcome its climate change and environment related issues.
Malik Amin Aslam while addressing as chief guest spelled out the government priorities in climate change and environmental related issues. He said adding the government planned to ban plastic bags all over Pakistan.
Senior Director Programmes, WWF-Pakistan Rab Nawaz, said climate change posed greater threat to our present and future generations.
“Pakistan is at risk of climate related natural hazards as we have been witnessing widespread rains, super floods, frequent heatwaves and temperature rise and incidences of coastal flooding and sea intrusion,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, all participants signed a pledge wall and showed their concerns about threats of climate change. That showed a commitment to fight the grave climate change challenge by planting more trees, conserving water, reducing carbon footprint and changing lifestyles.
Each year, the European Union around the world celebrates Climate Diplomacy Day with events taking place to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond. Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge.
These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris in December 2015.