SAARC countries must work together to mitigate adverse impacts of climate in region: SAARC chamber

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LAHORE : SAARC Chamber Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik Sunday called upon the all countries especially the South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) states to enhance cooperation and evolve mechanisms to protect the lives of people and the bread basket across the region as shifting weather patterns and extreme climates become the norm.

According to message received here from Bangladesh, leader of Pakistan delegation Iftikhar Ali Malik addressing at “ A Climate Resilient South Asia: Turning Climate Smart Investment Opportunities into Reality held at Dhaka said that regional governments would lack the capacity to respond to these challenges if they continue to work in isolation. He said SAARC members must have to commit themselves to promote programmes for advocacy and awareness of climate change and to inculcate habits towards a low-carbon society, including incorporation of science-based educational material in educational curricula.

He emphasised on policies and action for climate change mitigation, technology transfer, financing and investment mechanism, education, training and awareness, monitoring, assessment and management of impact and risks due to climate change. South Asia’s geo-climatic location is between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean-Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, thus it is vulnerable to climate-related disasters caused by multiple hazards from glacier melting to sea-level rise,” he added.

Iftikhar Malik said the human factors are contributing in a large way compared to natural ones to induce the climate change. “The humans are contributing largely through increased carbon dioxide emissions and also through changes in land use pattern due to urbanisation,” he added. He said that ocean plays an important role in absorbing almost 50 per cent of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by human activities.

Throwing light on impact of climate change in Pakistan, he said Pakistan, facing the brunt of climate change, needs to get access to international financial resources to establish a proper regulatory mechanism to cope with the challenges they face in accessing climate change adaptation funds. He said Pakistan has a strong national commitment and working on innovative business models to gain financial and technical assistance from both domestic and international players.

He said Pakistan would require $10.70 billion per annum as the cost of adaptation to climate change and mitigation cost would range from $8 billion to $17 billion. He said Pakistan is an energy-deficient county and instead of seeking international funds for fossil fuel energy generation under CPEC, it needs to move for renewable energy generation. “We should look for funds to build capacity of the workforce, improve the technological resource base and strengthen institutions for renewable energy sources. “It’s our need to consume coal to meet our development targets to fulfill needs of the growing population. We can cut out GHG emission if we are provided with sufficient resources, technology, capacity and finances to move for green energy and renewables,” he added.

He also suggested increasing regional cooperation through the SAARC platform. The seminar was organized by SAARC CCI in collaboration with FNF and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

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