Climate change has a detrimental impact on Pakistan. The 2021 Global Climate Risk Index positioned Pakistan among the top 10 countries most affected by long-term climate risks from 2000 to 2019, considering fatalities and mortalities.
We experience recurrent heatwaves, forest fires, unprecedented floods, seawater intrusion, droughts, and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). These risks significantly impact surrounding communities and their livelihoods, particularly those working in agriculture.
Therefore, the country needs interventions to reduce climate change impacts, build people’s resilience, and protect livelihoods. We are implementing drip irrigation systems, introducing drought-resistant crop varieties, using satellite-based water management tools, and promoting climate-smart agricultural practices to assist our farmers.
To address GLOFs, a Green Climate Fund (GCF) project is helping us build dams and drainage systems in mountainous areas to reduce flooding risk, and we are also installing early warning systems to increase community abilities to respond rapidly to flood scenarios.
The country must continue to promote climate innovations and the adoption of new technologies.
Simultaneously, our efforts are focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while promoting climate-resilient housing structures in regions adversely affected by climate change, such as flood-prone zones, drought-affected areas, and those susceptible to extreme heatwaves or forest fires.
Promoting innovations in climate adaptation and resilience in Pakistan
The government can support climate innovations at the national level through laws and policies. One example is the Public Private Partnership Authority Act 2016 and the Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3A), which help promote investments and private sector participation in the country’s economic development.
While the legal framework and institutions are available in the country, public-private partnerships must be further incentivized to address the negative impacts of climate change on businesses. Businesses must also work closely with the public sector to transition towards more sustainable business practices.
The other area we can work on and need to work on is community engagement and awareness raising. Pakistan helps create community ownership of sustainable initiatives, particularly in forestry, through its Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme. Capacity building is also important to communities and local government agencies, civil society organizations, and non-government organizations.
Funding is a crucial factor in the success of mobilizing resources, and funding streams are crucial to the success of these interventions. The country needs to create a dedicated fund for climate change resilience and disaster risk reduction.
Promoting innovations in South Asia and beyond
Pakistan must share its policy success and climate change knowledge among its provinces, cities, and even beyond its national borders. We must also look for such knowledge in other parts of the world. We hope that all countries will come together to tackle the climate change challenge collectively, and we will learn from each of them, collaborate, and support and assist each other.
The iCARE Innovations Fund, a component of the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CARE) for South Asia project, is encouraging innovations in the field of climate change. We hope it will continue promoting innovations in climate resilience in countries like Pakistan.
Mr. Idrees Mahsud is a Member (Disaster Risk Reduction) at the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Pakistan.