Pakistan lacks substantial information, data capacities

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Stressing the need for strengthening structures at community level to reduce the impact of disasters and effective social protection services delivery, experts said that financing to upgrade and modernize weather forecasting systems and building the capacity of communities can play a crucial role in responding to disasters in future.

This was the crux of a panel discussion titled: ‘Adaptive Social Protection: Preparing for Future Disasters,’ on the 2nd day of 25th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and jointly held alongside UNESCAP’s 6th South and Southwest Asia High-level Political Forum and Policy Dialogue on SDGs.

Mr Gul Najam Jamy, Senior Technical Advisor of the World Bank, Pakistan, said the local communities have tremendous potential to adapt and respond to emerging challenges.

However, the focus needs to be paid on strengthening linkages between the stakeholders and building resilience of the communities through capacity enhancement initiatives.

Ms Anum Zeb, the Programme Coordinator Climate Advocacy, Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), was of view that currently Pakistan’s seasonal based forecast has an accuracy of 60-75%, which acts as a hurdle in designing Early Action Protocol for Forecast Based Financing.

Therefore, he said, we need to invest in our weather forecasting systems. Moreover, systems should be in place for data sharing, risk assessment, particularly area-wise assessment for effective social protection response.

Ms Shazia Maqsood Amjad, Executive Director, Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, highlighted that the duplication of efforts during the response as social protection needs to be minimized.

The various actors such as the government, NGOs, and other organizations should harmonize their response strategy.

Working with local organizations could play a crucial role here because of their familiarity with local issues, and the trust that communities pose in them, she added. Mr Arif Goheer, Global Change Impact Study Centre, was of view that the state of preparedness in Pakistan in the face of natural disasters is quite low.

Likewise, Pakistan does not have up to the mark information and data capacities in terms of ASP and thus, it hinders the proper assessment of the impacts of a disaster on diverse groups of the population.

The panelists during the discussion also asserted that the early warning systems should be linked to social registry to address the key issues pertaining to adaptive social protection.

Syed Muhammad Mustafa, Social Protection Specialist, Islamabad and Dr Fareeha Armughan, SDPI earlier presented various facts and details regarding the existing state of adaptive ssocial protection in Pakistan.—INP