UNDP, GB, KPK to protect mountain communities from natural disasters

Mohammad Arshad

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that the present government is taking all-out measures to mitigate adverse impacts climate change-caused disasters on mountain communities in the country’s north.

This he said on the occasion of a high-level ceremony held here on Tuesday regarding signing of different Letter of Agreements (LoAs) among United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments to protect lives and livelihoods of people in Gilgit-Balitstan and Khyber-Pakhunkhwa regions from devastating impacts of the climate change-induced disasters, particularly the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood events.

Lauding the role of UNDP in environmental protection and mitigation of climate change-induced natural disasters, he said that the present government is deeply grateful to the financial and technical support provided to various government organisations including climate change ministry for enhancing climate resilience of the country against various natural disasters and overall conservation and protection of the country’s environment and natural resources.

He highlighted that melting of glaciers because of soaring temperatures in the country’s north has resulted in the formation of over 3,044 lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, putting some 7.1 million people at risk from potential GLOF events.

“Given the backdrop, I hope that the new agreement signed between UNDP and the governments of Gilgit-Bltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would go a long way to help strengthen capacity and ability of the institutions and people in these areas to mitigate socio-economic and environmental impacts of natural disasters,” PM’s aide Malik Amin Aslam stressed.

Spelling out details of the pact with media after the signing ceremony, the National Project Director of the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods project (Phase-II) and Additional Secretary Climate Change Ministry, Joudat Ayaz, told media under that under the pact UN Development Programme would provide technical, financial support throughout year 2021 to the governments of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa so as to save lives and livelihoods of the mountain communities and usher in climate-resilient infrastructures and improved GLOF monitoring and warning systems.

The Letters of Agreements (LOAs) were signed by Mr. Knut Ostby, Resident Representative of UNDP-Pakistan and Syed Abrar Hussain, Additional Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan Planning & Development Department and Lt (R) Amer Sultan Tareen, Special Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Planning & Development Department.

The officials of the climate change ministry were also in presence at the event.

Lack of financial resources, preparedness, knowledge, capacity and disaster-resilient public infrastructures are among key issues being faced by the GB and KPK governments that hamper their efforts to protect lives and livelihoods of the mountain communities in these areas from the deleterious impacts of GLOF events, which wipe out everything on their way when burst out, the additional secretary Joudat Ayaz pointed out.

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