Climate Change and Development Context
Pakistan contains mountain ranges, plateaus, forests, deserts, and coastal areas, resulting in climate extremes from very hot and arid temperatures, to severe monsoon rains and below zero degrees in winter. Extreme events, such as severe flooding and earthquakes, have caused significant infrastructural destruction and internal displacement, impeding development efforts.[i]
Economic growth and development in Pakistan over the past decade has faced numerous challenges, including large inefficiencies, particularly in the water, agriculture, and energy sectors, which are putting an avoidable stress upon its natural resource base.[ii] As the second most urbanized country in South Asia, more than 36 percent of Pakistan’s total population lives in cities, causing further stresses on resources and services. Urbanization trends are expected to continue to centers where economic growth is currently concentrated.[iii]
Due to high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, Pakistan has focused on climate change adaptation measures, but is also committed to combating global climate change through mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[iv] The energy (including transport) and agriculture sectors account for 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, thus mitigation efforts are concentrated in these two sectors.[v]
Key National Institutions, Policies and Initiatives:[vi]
Key institutions: The Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change (PMCCC) is an overarching body, which meets annually to monitor climate change related developments taking place globally and within Pakistan and to provide overall policy guidance. The Ministry of Climate Change is mandated to lead the efforts to address climate challenges in the country while also coordinating with other concerned agencies and institutions on various technical aspects. Efforts to enhance the institutional framework are underway to support implementation of the National Climate Change Policy and National Sustainable Development Strategy.
Other relevant organizations in the country working on research in climate change include Pakistan Meteorological Department, Water and Power Development Authority, National Agriculture Research Centre, National Institute of Oceanography, and Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission.
Policies and initiatives: Pakistan launched its first National Climate Change Policy (2012), with the goal of ensuring climate change is mainstreamed in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer the country towards climate-resilient development. The Policy addresses the threats of climate change through adaptation and mitigation measures. Mitigation measures pay special attention to integration of climate change considerations and energy infrastructure, fuel, and technology investments; energy efficiency requirements in building codes; and long-term transport planning. The Policy also aims to strengthen institutional frameworks (such as through proposed establishment of a National Climate Change Commission), cultivate climate change professionals to augment in-country capacity, and raise public awareness on climate change.[vii]
The National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012) provides Pakistan’s country driven future blueprint for a green economy. The Strategy includes strategic goals such as greening of the pro-poor economic growth model, safeguarding the environment, vulnerability mapping, community based adaptation, sustainable land management, and undertaking future climate-resilient development especially in infrastructure.[viii]
The Government of Pakistan also seeks to work with regional partners, such as through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), on a concerted response to meet the challenges of climate change. Potential collaborations include establishing a SAARC Climate Change Research Centre and promoting researcher or student exchange programs in the climate change discipline.[ix]
[ii] National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012). http://www.mocc.gov.pk/gop/index.php?q=aHR0cDovLzE5Mi4xNjguNzAuMTM2L21vY2xjL2ZybURldGFpbHMuYXNweD9pZD0xMSZhbXA7b3B0PXBvbGljaWVz
[iii] “World Bank Group – Pakistan Partnership: Country Program Snapshot” (accessed 19 Nov 2013). http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/10/09/000333037_20131009142935/Rendered/PDF/817160WP0Pakis0Box0379824B00PUBLIC0.pdf
[iv] National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012)
[v] National Climate Change Policy (2012). http://www.mocc.gov.pk/gop/index.php?q=aHR0cDovLzE5Mi4xNjguNzAuMTM2L21vY2xjL3VzZXJmaWxlczEvZmlsZS9Nb2NsYy9Qb2xpY3kvTmF0aW9uYWwlMjBDbGltYXRlJTIwQ2hhbmdlJTIwUG9saWN5JTIwb2YlMjBQYWtpc3RhbiUyMCgyKS5wZGY%3D
[vi] National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012)
[vii] National Climate Change Policy (2012)
[viii] National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012)
[ix] National Climate Change Policy (2012)
Basic data sources:
World Bank: http://data.worldbank.org/country/pakistan
United Nations Statistics Division World Statistics Pocketbook (accessed 19 Nov 2013). http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=PAKISTAN
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