FEDERAL Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman has done well by sensitizing the Federal Cabinet, the highest policy and decision-making forum in the country, about the impending disaster if environmental issues were not addressed seriously and squarely in a timely manner.
She told its meeting on Tuesday that Pakistan is the eighth most-affected country by climate change globally and likely to be water scarce by 2025.
Besides, the country is also in the grip of food, climate, water, population and environmental crises.
The pathetic state of affairs in relation to climate change highlighted by the Minister is also corroborated by a recent report of the United Nations, which revealed Pakistan was suffering economic losses worth $26 billion a year due to climate change.
The problem has also been underlined by extreme weather conditions that the country has been witnessing during the last many years as either we are caught in a drought-like situation or devastating floods that play havoc with infrastructure, livelihood and shelter.
Going by the fact that Pakistan is an agrarian economy, the apprehensions expressed by the Minister that the country could become water scarce by 2025 should be a source of concern for our policy and decision makers as water shortage will have serious implications for our efforts to achieve food security.
The PTI Government deserves credit for its focus on Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams but, of late, there are reports about considerable delay in the completion of these two highly beneficial projects because of financial constraints.
In fact, apart from these two, there is dire need to firm up a plan in close coordination with four provinces, GB and Azad Kashmir to initiate practical work on all feasible small, medium and big water reservoirs on war-footings even if it meant diversion of resources from some other sectors.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already announced the formation of an inter-ministerial committee on climate adaptation with participation of agriculture, food security, water and other ministries to sit together and devise an action plan and we hope the Minister, who has the necessary vision and understanding of the issues involved, will see to it that the plan is in place in the shortest possible time and is duly implemented in a time-bound manner.