Pakistan. Agriculture sector being badly hit by climate change: minister


Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid has said that Pakistan is the 7th country in the world which is being affected seriously due to climate change. "Agriculture sector of the country is being badly affected due to climate change and disturbance of seasons and decreasing water level in the earth. In future, the situation can become worse if we do not take appropriate measures", the minister informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change.

The committee met with Hafeez-ur-Rehaman Khan Drishak in the chair at Parliament House on Thursday. The committee discussed the issues related to climate change as well as terms and policy of a think tank, formed earlier in this regard, regarding climate change.

The minister said that the whole world is affecting due to climate change and Pakistan could become single most affected country in future if pre-emptive measures are not taken. "It is a huge problem and projects could not be approved without environmental assessment," he said.

He said that climate change is global issue and there is very serious concern on it in the international community. He said that as many as 190 countries had gathered in Paris in 2015 to negotiate a climate change agreement that will frame the global agenda on this issue for the next decade and beyond. He said that these countries made an agreement to take measures to protect the earth. He said that there is also an idea to limit greenhouse gas emission as part of an international agreement in Paris.

The minister said that climate of the earth is affected due to emission of greenhouse gas while Americans and Chinese, whose economies are responsible for the greatest annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, are among the least concerned countries. He said that the international community (190 countries) would provide $100 million every year to Pakistan to launch various projects to protect the environment.

He said, "We have prepared a draft bill to fulfil the requirement of international agreement in Paris. We have also prepared a comprehensive policy." He said that under proposed legislation, a Pakistan Climate Change Council would be constituted and chief ministers of all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan would be part of it. He said that Pakistan Climate Change Authority would also be established.

Answering the questions of the members, the minister said that climate change is not provincial issue but it is national and international issue. The minister said that forest is a provincial subject, however, under the direction of the Prime Minister, the federal government has prepared 'National Forest Policy' and the province would implement it. He said, "We offered the provinces to prepare projects about the forest and the federal government would provide 50 % funds to the provinces for this purpose."

The committee also discussed the think tank's terms and policy regarding climate change. The standing committee also suggested that think tank should be broadened and all provinces should be given equal nomination in it.


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