GILGIT: The Karakoram International University Gilgit, in collaboration with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan, University of Peshawar and GLOF II hosted the 1st International Conference on Climate-Induced Natural Disasters and Mitigation (ICCINDM). This two-day conference was held at Karakoram International University on October 30 to 31, 2023. As an important international academic event marking a new level of international exchange, cooperation and unity among science and technology researchers, ICCINDM attracted a large number of international and national science and technology elites of the discipline to Gilgit.
Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence on the first day of the conference. Nazir Ahmed Advocate, Speaker of the Gilgit Baltistan Assembly, honored the occasion as the chief guest. Additionally, Shahzad Aga, Minister of Education for Gilgit Baltistan, and Eman Shah, Minister of Information for Gilgit Baltistan, were present during the opening session. The conference attracted participants from various renowned international universities, including China, the UK, Norway, and prominent institutions within Pakistan. Notably, the event also witnessed active participation from government departments, international research institutes, experts in the fields of earth and space sciences, geography, geology, climatology, academia, development organizations, community organizations, and the media, who contributed through presentations and paper sharing. In the various technical sessions held on the first day, 23 national and international experts presented their research papers on the effects of climate change and the risks of natural disasters.
The primary objective of ICCINDM was to enhance awareness and understanding of climate-induced natural disasters, with a focus on hydrometeorological and geohazards, disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, the role of technology in disaster risk management, and disaster policy and practices.
In his welcome speech, the vice chancellor of Karakoram International University, Engineer Professor Dr. Attaullah Shah highlighted the importance of the two-day international conference in creating awareness and exchange of knowledge about the natural disasters that occur as a result of climate change. He further added that the recommendations given by the national scholars and international experts at the conference will be shared with the provincial and federal governments so that they can get rid of the important problem of climate change through planning together in the best way”.
In his address, Nazir Ahmed Advocate, Speaker Gilgit Baltistan Assembly said that “Gilgit-Baltistan is being severely affected by the effects of climate change and in the future these threats may lead to further destruction and destruction for the region. Therefore, the need of the hour is that the international community and aid agencies should assist the government in dealing with the challenge of climate change so that joint efforts can be made to overcome this important global issue”.
Addressing the conference, Shahzad Aga, Minister of Education for Gilgit Baltistan, said that “Climate change has become a global problem. It is the need of the hour to take joint measures in this regard. He said that we need to start regular awareness projects regarding climate change at schools, colleges and universities. This will provide better awareness about climate change and its effects”.
In her keynote speech, Nusrat Nasab, CEO, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Pakistan, said that “ Sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and climate resilience are interconnected. To build a more resilient world, we must recognize that our actions today will determine the well-being of future generations. Sustainable development is not a choice but an imperative, one that fosters economic growth while preserving the environment and minimizing vulnerabilities to natural hazards. However, achieving climate-resilient habitats requires a collective effort. Governments, academia and other institutions, businesses, CSOs, communities, and individuals must come together to protect and restore our natural ecosystems. Policymakers must enact legislation that promotes sustainable land use, conservation, and renewable energy adoption. Businesses should adopt green practices and invest in technologies that reduce their environmental footprint”.
Dr. Muhammad Shafique, National Center of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Pakistan, addressing at the event shared that “ There is dire need for multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder research for multi hazard risk and vulnerability assessment”.
Abdul Basit, Provincial Coordinator of UNDP GLOF-II Project, shed light in detail on the effects of climate change and the risks of natural disasters in the context of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In a technical session Prof. Dr. Bishal Sitaula, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences , said that “ In a world marked by rapidly changing climate patterns and an increasing frequency of disasters, the need to cultivate human agency and resiliency is more pressing than ever”.
While presenting a case study of Floods 2022 in Swat valley in Pakistan, Dr. Christoph Lehmann, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Switzerland, appraised the disaster management approaches and practices that exists in Pakistan in addition he encouraged to promote more scientific research in the future”.
Corps Commander Rawalpindi, Lt.Gen Shahid Imtiaz, honored the closing ceremony of the conference as chief guest.
The International Conference on Climate-Induced Natural Disasters and Mitigation marks a pivotal stride towards global cooperation and the dissemination of knowledge in the vital field of disaster management and mitigation. The two-day conference concluded with a significant declaration that underlines the commitment to forging partnerships for research and knowledge exchange on climate-induced natural disasters within the context of Pakistan’s mountainous regions. This collaborative effort seeks to develop policies aimed at sustainable development and the enhancement of communication infrastructure.