Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, has directed senior officials of the ministry to closely collaborate with the provincial governments and all other relevant stakeholders to put forward an strong climate vulnerability case of Pakistan at the United Nations’ global climate conference.
“A high-profile delegation should be constituted that will attend the global climate conference in Paris, France, to present Pakistan’s climate vulnerability case. The delegation should comprise climate experts, policymakers, planners, climate scientists and researchers so that Pakistan should also prove to be an important stakeholder in conference,” Mushahidullah Khan said while chairing a high-level inter-ministerial meeting here on Thursday on “Preparations for 21st Conference of Parties (COP0-21) to the United National Conventions Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC)”.
He urged the representatives of different ministries and government departments to explore potential funding channels to meet respective boarding and lodging expenses in Parisfor participation in the global climate conference as a part of the national delegation.
Mushahidullah khan will head the delegation to the climate conference.
He said that though Pakistan is not a major contributor in global carbon emissions, the country was ranked third among top 10 most climate vulnerable countries and worst affected by the negative impacts of climate change.
“However, Pakistan must attend the global climate conference with a strong message for the rich polluting nations to compensate for the damages they have caused to the climate change and environment by continuing the trajectory of carbon emissions,” the minister told the participants
He also cautioned the participants that it should be ensured that the country’s delegation in support with other developing countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Thailand oppose everything in the global climate agreement, which would come out of the global climate conference that may make anything binding on our country for which we are not responsible and that has to be compensated by the developed countries.
Under the new global climate agreement, the 198 participating countries are expected to agree a target of capping carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial level.
The conference will be held in December this year and will be attended by over delegations from over 198 countries. Political and climate leaders, scientists, researchers, policymakers from both rich and poor countries are expect to reach a global climate agreement that will in force after 2020 and that will replace Kyoto Protocol.
Representatives of relevant federal and all provincial government and non-governmental representatives, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) and senior officials of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, provincial environmental protection agencies and climate change ministry also participated in the meeting.
Provincial government representatives appreciated federal climate change minister for insisting upon provincial governments to nominate officials to be part of Pakistan’s national delegation to the global climate conference.
This will help highlight climate vulnerabilities of all provinces, particularly Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan at the global level and boost Pakistan’s overall climate vulnerability case.
Secretary of the Climate Change Ministry, Arif Ahmed Khan, said that Pakistan is closely engaged in the negotiations process on the upcoming global climate agreement to be reached at the UN-led climate conference in Paris.
“However, overall national position is guided by: emission reduction actions by Pakistan remain voluntary and enabled by finance, technology and capacity building and that our socio-economic development remains unhampered; negotiations for a new global climate treaty. Legally binding outcome to be guided by the principles of the UNFCCC particularly that of ‘commons but differentiated responsibilities’; the 2015 global climate agreement should not be limited to mitigation only. It must holistically include adaptation and means of implementation (finance, technology development and transfer as well as capacity-building),” Arif Ahmed Khan told the meeting.
Meanwhile, Director General (Environment and Climate Change), Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta apprised the meeting participants that Pakistan’s position at the global negotiating table for reaching a balanced global climate agreement is closely coordinated with the Like-Minded Group of Countries (LMDCs), which include Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El-Salvador, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, Qatar, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Sudan, Venezuela and Vietnam.