Maritime climate actions for Pakistan’s 2030 plan
SPRING has sprung with high spirit and ambition as winds are blowing at the level of relevant stake holders for the formulation of National Climate Change Action Plan for the period of 2021-2030.
The Federal Government would be in right direction if it comes true. It is a good portent for a highly vulnerable country and was an awaited step since after the promulgation of Pakistan Climate Change Act 2017.
However, the production of an articulated and coherent document would be a major challenge, considering the ambiguities and anomalies in federal and provincial governance context.
At the same time, inclusion of appropriate actions with the provision of adequate resources for maritime climate segment is also very important as full justice had never been done with it in the previous government documents including the Framework for Implementation of National Climate Change Policy 2014.
The set of maritime climate actions should adhere to the philosophy of climate compatible development by covering the various aspects of vulnerability and adaptation, mitigation, resilience and low carbon development.
It should address the cross-cutting issues by creating coherence in course of action.
In 2017, NDMA developed vulnerability atlases of several districts including Bahawalpur.
It was a much needed step for effective planning towards climate response mechanism.
There is a need to develop similar atlases for climate profiles of all settlements including the urban and rural coastal communities alongside coastal areas.
National DRR Policy 2013 and the revised version of National Disaster Response Plan 2019 cover the scope of local adaptation plans of action (LAPAs) thus the response becomes more relevant at district and local level.
There is a need to develop and implement dynamic Local Adaptation Plans of Actions (LAPAs) and vibrant Early Warning System particularly for fisher-folk/coastal communities.
Climate information is a very critical aspect for agriculture based economy in coastal area districts such as Thatta, Badin etc. There is a need to develop system for sharing climate information with farming communities.
To meet commitments under SDGs, there is a need to develop sustainable potable water supply systems for coastal settlements in order to ensure human security in climatic uncertainties’ scenarios.
Building codes for climate resilient coastal settlements and energy efficiency will complement towards SDG-11.
In-depth research is required on potable water availability and its future forecasts for coastal communities/urban settlements, coastal erosion, ocean acidification, sea level rise, water flow in Delta regions, change in oceanic temperature etc.
SDG Report 2020 highlighted that Ocean acidification due to climate change is a threat for the sustainability of the ocean based economy, as it is likely to rise 100 to 150% by the year 2100. Provisions for applied research would explore solutions and best practices to complement SDG-14.
Development of artificial corals and mari-culture are important for sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem. Climate protection for marine archaeological sites may be instrumental for sustainable tourism, livelihood and revenue generation.
The ancient port city of Bhanbhore and other sites including Makli, Agore etc. require climate safeguards with allocation of proper financial resources.
Preservation of indigenous knowledge is very critical for local adaptation and coping strategies.
Academic research and capacity development programme would enhance the adaptive capacity of fisher-folk, farming and other local communities by involving relevant actors.
A targeted climate awareness campaign is likely to overcome sea-blindness by sensitizing and mobilizing the masses for contribution through individual actions particularly on the need of urban plantation, water conservation, energy conservation and behavioural change in consumers’ consumption patterns.
Mangrove conservation is not only important for climate mitigation but also for coastal resilience. Mangroves act as carbon sink and buffer-zone. There is a need to launch a six-monthly Mangrove Plantation Drive on a regular basis.
Like CDM, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) is also an important carbon credit based climate mitigation response for the forestry sector. Mangroves of Pakistan are very important for REDD+ development.
Being a UN-REDD country, Pakistan is a recipient of REDD+ readiness grant from World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
But, the Federal Government has quite a slow process on it. It could not realize REDD+ demonstration projects for Mangroves yet.
Pakistan Navy supports Mangroves Plantation every year. It needs to be synchronized with country’s REDD+ endeavour.
In the past, Pakistan also secured several funds for environment and climate change but the maritime segment remained unattended though there is a lot of international obligations to be met while dealing with the maritime agenda of blue economy by putting into practice the sustainability safeguards.
Hence, there is a need to establish two REDD+ demonstration sites for Mangroves.
There is also a need to build capacity of provincial line departments on different windows of opportunities such as CDM, REDD+ and GCF etc.
For SDG-7, set milestones and develop renewable energy projects both off-shore and on-shore, by targeting wind power, solar, tidal and geo-thermal energy sources in Pakistan’s maritime domain.
There is a need to bring energy efficiencies and reduce emissions and losses with modern including digital technological solutions to all engine-driven operational equipment at ports/harbours, sea going vessels, maritime transport, logistics, value chains and industrial units alongside coastal areas of Pakistan.
Generate waste to energy and treat the urban solid waste stream, particularly for the urban areas of Karachi, Hub and Gwadar.
A Maritime Climate Task Force/or Coordination Committee of officials from MoCC, MoMA, Provincial Environment Ministries and other stakeholders including National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), Civil Society Organizations and think-tanks be formed at federal levels to oversight/observe the various aspects of environment and climate change and suggest time to time solutions.
Active engagement and fair participation of all relevant stakeholders need to be ensured in all processes at local, provincial, national and international level.
Federal and Provincial Governments need to ensure full compliance with effective implementation of available climate change policy 2012, CC Implementation Framework 2014 and climate change Act 2017.
In this context, there is a need to bring more clarity in Federal and Provincial jurisdiction, particularly important for climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience for climate compatible development in maritime domain of Pakistan.
—The writer who is affiliated with National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) Islamabad, contributes to the national press on a regular basis.