PRE-COP 28: Minister calls for collective action to pressing climate change challenges

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By Shabbir Hussain

ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 ( Diplomatic Star): Caretaker Federal Minister for National Food
Security and Research, Dr Kausar Abdullah Malik, emphasized
the need for collective efforts to address the challenges of
climate change, water security, and food security on Monday.

While addressing participants of a Pre-Cop 28 conference on
“Accelerating the Water-Food Climate Nexus Transformation
Pathways for Pakistan” organized by the International Water
Management Institute (IWMI) in Islamabad, he stated that
citizens must take steps to protect water resources to achieve
sustainable development.


He mentioned that efforts are underway to implement laser
land leveling technology to minimize water usage in irrigation
while also promoting water safety. He emphasized the need to
raise public awareness about the significance of water and its
safety.

Dr. Kausar emphasized the importance of water safety to
improve agriculture, food systems, and economic development.
He warned that failure to take immediate and bold measures
could result in further deterioration of water security.

Mark Smith, Director General of IWMI, pointed out that
although Pakistan only accounts for a negligible share of global
emissions, the country bears a disproportionate burden of the
impacts of climate change.

In his inaugural address, Dr Mark identified that although
Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of the world's planet-
warming gases, it is still ranked as the eighth most vulnerable
country to the climate crisis. He explained that around 92% of
Pakistan is classified as semi-arid to arid, and most of the
population relies on limited water resources from rivers and
aquifers.

We will support the Ministry of Climate Change in creating a position paper on water and climate change for CoP28. The government, policymakers, and provinces of Pakistan must
work together to combat climate change.

The British High Commissioner, Jane Marriott OBE, has emphasized the importance of implementing climate resilience strategies in Pakistan, which is considered one of the topmost climate-vulnerable countries and ranks 32nd in preparedness.

She highlighted the need to address the challenges of food and
water governance, gender equality, and poverty reduction in
the country by tackling the impacts of climate change. Marriott
added that the UK is supporting Pakistan in its efforts to
address these challenges.

She mentioned that the UK will invest in AI-powered solutions
to tackle climate change in Pakistan, where Lahore has been
declared the most polluted city and Pakistan ranks third among
countries battling this issue.

Ms. Danielle Cashen, Deputy High Commissioner of the
Australian High Commission, stated that Pakistan is facing
severe water scarcity. By 2025, only 36% of the population will
have access to safely managed water and only 1% of
wastewater will be treated.

“Water, climate change & and food security are interconnected
& and multisectoral solutions are needed to help Pakistan
overcome these challenges." She said, "Australia and Pakistan
work together on agriculture within water scarce & salinity
affected landscapes. Together we investigate adaptation
strategies and tools with communities and farmers to provide
transparent & and consistent seasonal water allocation within
the Indus Basin.

 

H.E. Maciej Pisarski, the Ambassador of Poland, emphasized the
importance of focusing on issues that matter to both Poland
and Pakistan to expand cooperation between the two
countries. He suggested that addressing climate change
together could provide a multitude of opportunities for
collaboration.

He shared how Polish Water Technologies can help in
addressing climate-related challenges. The partnership
between Polish Water Technologies and IWMI can offer a

comprehensive solution to Pakistan's climate issues. This
includes the provision of cost-effective and efficient water
purification technologies, the construction of eco-friendly
wastewater treatment plants, and the reinforcement of flood
prevention measures in Pakistan by Polish companies.

On the occasion, Kate Somvongsiri, Mission Director for USAID,
stated that addressing climate change is a global challenge that
requires building linkages across populations, geographies,
organizations, and sectors. She emphasized that the US
government is committed to this approach.

While concluding the conference, Dr Mohsin Hafeez, director
IWMI, said Climate change poses a significant threat to our
water, food, energy, and environmental systems.

Unfortunately, the way our govt departments and provinces
are utilizing water resources is inadequate to tackle Pakistan’s
complex range of challenges. Hence, we must improve
governance in all sectors to overcome these challenges.