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13 October: International Day for Disaster Reduction – Pakistan suffered economic damages worth $2941 billion due to disasters: Senator Mushahidullah Khan

Islamabad, October 13, 2017 (PPI-OT):Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Friday said that protecting lives and livelihoods of the people, particularly in the country’s disaster-prone areas such as mountainous and coastal, through public awareness programmes and integrating disaster-resilience in public infrastructure development policies must for achieving sustainable economic development and poverty elimination.

Talking to media here in connection with the International Day for Disaster Reduction being marked today across the world, the climate change minister, Pakistan has suffered 133 climate change-induced disasters from year 1996 to 2015, which caused economic damages to the tune of US$ 2,941.

However, the day offered a great opportunity to sensitise public about viable techniques today and everyday to reduce their vulnerabilities to climate change-induced disasters, particularly, land and river erosions, forest fires, riverine and glacial lake outburst floods in the country.

“Role of the government, nongovernmental organisations and media is key to highlight importance of disaster risk re-education in the disaster-prone Pakistan, which is ranked among the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change-caused disasters, which have shown increase in frequency and intensity since 2010,” Mushahidullah Khan underlined.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction is marked every year on 13th October across the world under the age is of the United Nations and countries including Pakistan celebrate the day. This year the Day is being marked under the theme ‘Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement ’and key focus is to highlight unprecedented importance of reducing the number of affected people by disasters by 2030.

Mushahidullah Khan said that the country has been ranked the 7th most affected country in the world because of climate change-related disasters, which have become more frequent intense and warned that the country’s ranking about vulnerability to disasters could worsen if all relevant federal and provincial government organisations failed to implement disaster risk reduction programmes, particularly in agriculture, energy, water, health, education, transport, infrastructure and energy sectors.

Quoting figures from the German Watch Index-2017 report, the minister said that as many as 133 climate change-induced disasters have occurred in the country between 1996 to 2015, which have caused economic damages of several billion dollars over these years. “The climate change-related disasters, particularly riverine and flash floods, cause around four billion dollars of losses annually in economic damages, most of them related to agriculture, water, irrigation, health, education, energy and public infrastructure sectors,” he said.

Mushahidullah Khan pointed out, “Addressing these climate change-induced challenges and boosting countries resilience through local and national adaptation plans require an annual investment of around 40 billion dollars in renewable energy, transport, waste management and forestry sectors for mitigating 20 percent of its national carbon emissions by 2030 and seven 14 billion dollars annually for adapting to shifting climatic patterns.”

He stressed that ranked extremely vulnerable country to extreme climate events, Pakistan is in a state of forced adaptation to strengthen its resilience through these hefty investments projects that help protect the country from exacerbating fallouts of climate change on people, their lives and livelihoods, country’s economic sectors, mainly agriculture, water, energy and transport.

There is a huge potential for adaptation in Pakistan, particularly in strengthening and fortifying the flood infrastructure including water reservoirs and irrigation network. This would involve enhancing resilience of local communities to the adverse impacts of climate change.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Website: www.mocc.gov.pk

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Mushahidullah Khan calls for global action for tackling climate risks to oceans

Islamabad, September 24, 2017 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, on Sunday urged the global community to jointly work out a global action plan to protect oceans and its resources from devastating fallouts of growing contamination, climate change-caused warming and unsustainable mining of its fisheries resources.

“Today, our oceans worldwide provide the livelihood directly for three billion people, but are under immense human and global warming-caused pressures such as sea pollution, acidification, rising sea levels, overexploitation of ocean resources, coastal degradation and global warming. However, these challenge can be tackled only through a global action,” he said in a press statement issued here on Sunday.

But onus of the responsibly was on rich nations, which had been blamed for global warming and unsustainable use of ocean resources, to lead a global ocean rescue and rehabilitation action, Mushahidullah Khan stressed. The climate change minister highlighted that ocean-related climate change impacts, including ocean warming, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise threaten the world’s food security, the biodiversity of the ocean, the integrity of coastal areas, livelihoods millions of the people who depend on oceans for income and food, tourism and recreation.

The minister said further that an estimated 80 per cent of marine pollution originates on land – pollutants that pose grave risks to wildlife and the health and safety of humans. “Nutrients, flowing down into our oceans from sources such as agricultural runoff, sewage and wastewater discharges, create “dead zones” where fish and other marine life cannot thrive. Today the world is home to an estimated 500 such dead zones. Given the dismal scenario, the very sustainability of marine fisheries is now at risk,” he highlighted.

“Various international research reports show that catches of many fish species in the oceans are declining while demand keeps increasing. However, we must realize that overfishing endangers the ecological balances of the oceans and reduces the enduring potential of fish stocks to provide food and jobs for the millions,” the climate change minister pointed out.

Climate Change Ministry media spokesperson, Mohammad Saleem, told a media briefing that the minister Mushahidullah Khan is all set to attend two-day global ocean conference scheduled next month in Malta, right at the heart of the Mediterranean, where Mr. Khan would join a global call for new vision and strong and action-oriented commitments needed for addressing challenges to oceans worldwide.

An invitation of European Union for participation in this conference was conveyed last week to the climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan by the EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Jean François Cautain, during a meeting in the climate change ministry, the media spokesperson said.

To be hosted by the European Union and attended by several hundreds of foreign delegations from all cross the world, the ‘Our Ocean, An Ocean for Life’ conference will focus on the key ocean issues of the present time – marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean. The global event aims inspire the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, civil society and media to identify solutions and commit to actions to protect and conserve oceans and its resources.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson Mohammad Saleem said further that the climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan along with other members of the global community would press upon the world leaders during the conference to roll out a actionable framework to cope with various human-caused threats to the oceans, particularly global warming its resultant effects such as acidification, rising sea level and bleaching of coral reefs.

The climate change media spokesperson told media further that Mushahidullah Khan would also highlight climate change-related risks to Pakistan’s coastal areas, sea intrusion, growing acidification and possible bleaching of coral reefs in the country’s coastal waters.

“There in Malta on the sidelines of the ocean conference, the minister Mushahidullah Khan would also hold meetings with world leaders and sustainable ocean management experts and discuss ways and means to explore bilateral and multi-lateral opportunities for cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship to address these challenges being faced Pakistan,” the spokesperson added.

Quoting climate change minister Mushahidullah Khan, the media spokesperson said that seas and oceans enrich humans’ identity, ensure their wellbeing and sustain a large part of the economy. “In fact, all of humans rely on the oceans for water, food, climate and air,” he stressed.

“However, responses to these challenges would require the coordinated action and commitments from governments and individuals from around the globe. We are ready to join such global efforts to protect our oceans as climate regulators and to sustain as food sources for our coming generations,” the climate change minister remarked.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Website: www.mocc.gov.pk

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Forests provide best shield against climate risks: Climate Change Minister

Islamabad, August 08, 2017 (PPI-OT): Federal Climate Change Minister on Tuesday said that all-out efforts are being taken to boost Pakistan’s climate resilience by re-vitalising forestry sector. “We cannot protect the country from devastating impacts of global warming-induced climate change, as long as our forests continue to remain chopped down. Forests are the best way to achieve enhanced climate resilience against fallouts of the climate change impacts,” he told a national consultative meeting on the World Bank-funded programme called REED+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) held today here at a local hotel.

The event was attended by forest experts from different countries and from different parts of the country, who discussed various technical and policy options to boost country’s tree cover as a part of the country’s climate resilience efforts. REDD+ is a UN-led mechanism that aims for countries’ efforts to reduce heat trapping carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

The climate change minister told the participants that international studies show that deforestation and land degradation accounts for a major share in overall global carbon emissions annually. “Most people assume that global warming is caused by burning oil, gas and coal. But in fact between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year or estimated 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide – is caused by deforestation, mainly the cutting and burning of forests, every year.

However, the same amount of carbon climate-altering carbon dioxide gases released from fossil fuel burning through any source can be removed from the atmosphere to stabilize the climate change by halting deforestation, he underlined.

Quoting studies of the UN’s Food and Agriculture (FAO), the minister Mushahidullah Khan said that trees are 50 percent carbon. But when they are chopped down or burned, the carbon dioxide they store makes its way back into the air. Besides, around 13 million hectares of forests worldwide are lost annually, almost entirely in the tropics, most of it occurs in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

He told the participants that an ambitious World Bank-funded US $3.8 million REDD+ programme has already been launched in the country that will help forest owners to access money for forest protection and controlling their shrinkage. The minister pointed out that lack of access to energy for cooking and heating in households, illegal tree cutting, population growth and associated wood demand surge, changes in land cover for non-forestry uses, land erosion and degradation are among major causes of deforestation in the country.

However, the Mushahidullah Khan stressed, “Controlling deforestation in the country is not possible without increasing access to renewable and alternative energy sources, particularly for cooking and heating in households, reducing occurrence of land erosion and landslides by strengthening forested mountain slopes with vegetation cover and increasing public awareness about positive effects of forests on overall environment, human health and biodiversity.”

He also urged the provincial and federal representatives of the forest departments to join the climate change ministry’s efforts for implanting national forest policy that aims to halt deforestation and inject new life in the ailing forestry sector. Meanwhile, the minister cautioned that involvement of local and indigenous forest community, community-based organizations, and educational institutions is key to bringing new life into the country’s unwell forestry sector.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Website: www.mocc.gov.pk

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High-level delegation from Open Government Partnership Secretariat calls on Climate Change Minister

Islamabad, July 26, 2017 (PPI-OT):High level delegation from Open Government Partnership Secretariat (OGP) today met the Federal Minister for Law and Justice and Climate Change at Ministry of Law and Justice, Islamabad. The Secretary, Climate Change Division and other senior officers of the Ministry were also present at this occasion. The high level delegation included Mr. Joseph Powel, Deputy CEO, Mr. John Mahoney, Program Officer and Ms. Shreya Basu, Regional Civil Society Coordinator for Asia-Pacific-OGP.

Currently, Government of Pakistan is in the process of preparation of National Action Plan (NAP) to OGP with stakeholder’s consultation. The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and adoption of new technologies to strengthen governance. It is currently headed by the French President Mr. Emmanuel Macron.

The OGP was formally launched in 2011 when 08 founding governments endorsed the OGP declaration and announced their country’s Action Plans. At present, 75 OGP participating countries and 15 sub-national governments have made over 2500 commitments to make their respective governments more open, rational and accountable. Fiscal transparency, access to information, citizen engagement / civil liberties, access to justice, strengthening accountability are the thematic areas of OGP.

The Federal Minister briefed the high level delegation that Ministry of Climate Change has reiterated its commitments regarding sharing and placement of open data on National Climate Change Policy and its implementation alongside Ministry’s efforts in the field of Climate Finance on its official website.

The Ministry is institutionalizing the role of civil society in climate related decision making processes/policies/agreements at national/ sub-national and international levels. This will be manifested through government – civil society consultations in pre and post-UNFCCC COPs scenario. The Ministry will work with private sector to encourage clean / green business development for promoting climate action. The encouragement of bringing in innovation and building capacity of relevant stakeholders are the fundamental objectives of the Ministry.

The Federal Minister briefed the participants that Pakistan is the 7th most vulnerable country on account of impacts of climate change despite having its negligible contribution in overall global GHG emissions. Pakistan has witnessed sea intrusion, glacial melt, desertification, floods and other impacts of climate change in recent decades.

Pakistan has recently passed the climate law i.e. Pakistan Climate Change Act-2016 and Pakistan is fully aware of its national and international obligations under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Prime Minister of Pakistan has recently launched 3.8 billion rupees project titled as “Green Pakistan Program” for afforestation. Pakistan is fully prepared and willing to extend its role in building international cooperation in order to tackle climate change nationally and internationally.

The OGP delegation briefed that Pakistan’s participation in the forum will bring forth more accountability. The OGP official briefed that OGP is a forum, on which countries can showcase their achievements and commitments. It will also provide an opportunity to Pakistan for sharing of ideas and experiences and for learning of best practices employed in the member countries.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Website: www.mocc.gov.pk

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Prime Minister accords approval to New Civil Awards Category of ‘Environment’

Islamabad, June 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has accorded approval to a new distinct category of civil awards for “Environment” on a recommendation of the Ministry for Climate Change in view of the unprecedented significance of the environmental protection and conservation, according to a press release issued here on Wednesday.

Federal Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid said, “Climate change is real global threat, which has been also impacting Pakistan with increased and frequent extreme climate events like devastating floods and intense heat wave incidents experienced in recent years. However, the creation of the civil award in “environment’ category will help recognize unprecedented efforts of the recipient individuals institutions/organisations towards addressing these environmental and climate change issues in Pakistan.”

He said further total climate change-related losses suffered by the country were estimated to be one billion rupees per day. The climate change minister highlighted that deforestation, land degradation, massive air, water and land pollution loss of wildlife habitats and biodiversity were the country’s major environmental issues.

“In the light of such massive threats, numerous individuals and organisations are striving and making efforts to cope with impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, which must be recognized at the state level. For instance in the past few years, at least three brave persons have laid their lives while fighting the timber and mangrove mafias: one forest guard and two community workers. Others have been promoting renewable energy, environmental education, forestation, water conservation and other similar efforts to save the planet,” the climate change minister Mr. Zahid Hamid indicated.

Highlighting the importance of the civil awards given away at the state level in recognition of out stance contribution in a given field of human activity, the climate change minister said that in every country such prestigious awards given away to recognise the efforts undertaken by individuals and organisations in any particular field of endeavour as well as significant achievements. However, these also inspire others to undertake similar efforts.

“In view of the reaffirmation of his commitment to the overall environmental protection and conservation made at the UN-led global climate change conference in Paris in 2015, the Prime Minster Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s has approved a new distinct category of civil awards for Environment. This would add to the current list of Pakistani civil awards which are given in the following fields, namely: engineering, public service, science, gallantry, sports, education, medicine, health, literature, special athletics, arts (painting, drama/film/acting/film production, etc) and journalism.

For more information, contact:
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Website: www.mocc.gov.pk

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