Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid addressed the inaugural session of National Workshop on: Forging Partnerships for “Climate Compatible Development” organized by the Lead Pakistan with the collaboration with Climate and Development Knowledge Network Program in Pakistan.

He said the adverse impacts of climate change are of immense concern for Pakistan.  Pakistan contributes only 0.8% to total annual global greenhouse gas emissions, ranking 135th in the world. To tackle these extreme climate change impacts, Pakistan has developed comprehensive policies and plans that include both adaptation and mitigation measures. However, availability of adequate finance is the main issue. The magnitude of the required financing is enormous. According to the study commissioned by the Government for preparing our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions which were submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat last year, Pakistan requires $ 40 billion by 2030 for mitigation measures to reduce our expected greenhouse gases emissions by 20% and up to US$ 14 billion annually to adapt to climate change impacts. We hope that the financial commitments in the Paris Agreement regarding the availability of at least US $ 100 billion per year by 2020 will be realized.

He told the audience It is in this context that we have strengthened our policy and institutional responses. Insofar as policies are concerned, in 2013 the Government prepared a Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014-2030) which lists priority, short-term, medium-term and long-term adaptation and mitigation actions required to be taken in various sectors.

Pakistan’s perspective plan “Vision 2025? was launched in 2014, reflecting the country’s development needs and priorities and providing a policy framework for the integration of the new goals in Pakistan’s national economic and development planning. We also have a National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Technical Need Assessment for mitigation of climate change impacts, National Adaptation Plan, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and a Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat are being developed. All the Provinces are also developing their own Action Plans to facilitate implementation of policy.

He also highlighted Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Program, which envisages far-reaching reforms in the forestry and wildlife sectors. These include reclamation and development of forest areas through plantation of more than 100 million trees during the next five years all over the country, and protection  and management of wildlife resources of the country, in line with the best international practices.

He highlighted the proposed new institutional architecture for climate action. The day of March 17, 2017 was a historic, red-letter day not just for the Ministry of Climate Change but also for the entire climate movement in Pakistan. This was the day when the Pakistan Climate Change Bill was unanimously passed by the SenatePakistan will be one of the few countries in the world with a law specifically dedicated to climate change.The new law establishes three important institutions: (1) the Pakistan Climate Change Council; (2) the Pakistan Climate Change Authority; and (3) the Pakistan Climate Change Fund.

The Pakistan Climate Change Council will be chaired by the Prime Minister and will include the Chief Ministers, concerned Federal Ministers, Provincial Environment Ministers, Chief Secretaries of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan and up to 30 other persons of which 20 shall be non-officials, such as representatives of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and non-governmental organizations, scientists, researchers, technical experts and educationists.

He also informed that  the Council shall be the apex policy-making body. Its functions include: approval and monitoring implementation of comprehensive adaptation and mitigation policies, plans and projects to meet Pakistan’s obligations under international conventions and agreements and approval of guidelines for the protection and conservation of renewable and non-renewable resources, species, habitats, and biodiversity in general.

He also informed The Council may also direct any Government Agency to prepare and implement projects for adaptation or mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change, to promote climate-compatible, climate-resilient and sustainable development or to undertake research in any aspect of climate change.

The second institution established by the Act is the Pakistan Climate Change Authority, which has already evoked much excitement and interest. The Authority shall comprise the Chairperson, Member (Adaptation), Member (Mitigation), Member (Climate Finance), Member (Coordination) and one Member from each province to be nominated by the respective Provincial Ministers-in-charge. The Chairperson and members shall be scientists, academicians, professionals, serving or retired government servants, industrialists, agriculturists or other technocrats with at least fifteen years’ experience in fields related to climate change and the environment, with a distinguished service record. The Authority will be entrusted with a host of functions and duties, including: formulation of comprehensive adaptation and mitigation policies, plans, and projects designed to meet Pakistan’s obligations under international conventions relating to climate change within the framework of a national climate change policy;

It would also be responsible for the establishment of institutional and policy mechanisms for implementation of federal and provincial adaptation and mitigation policies, plans and projects, including plans for renewable energy and clean technology, measures for energy efficiency and energy conservation; and awareness-raising and capacity-building programmes

The Authority will also advise the Government regarding appropriate legislative, policy and implementation measures. He also informed the audience that the Authority will be manned by top professionals appointed strictly on merit. He also highlighted that the third institution established by the Act will be the Pakistan Climate Change Fund, into which will be paid donations, endowments, grants, and funds raised by execution of projects of the Authority. The Fund will be managed by the Authority, and shall be utilized inter-alia, for expenditure incurred by the Authority in performance of its functions, for financial assistance to suitable adaptation and mitigation projects, for sustainable development of resources, and research.

He also told the audience that Another important provision of the Act is the power of the Minister-in-Charge to make rules for implementing the provisions of international agreements relating to climate change, including the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement and any other agreement relating to climate change to which Pakistan is a signatory.

In the end he concluded by informing that the Global Change Impact Studies Centre, the research arm of the Ministry of Climate Change is being strengthened and reoriented so that its research activities are greatly enhanced. Mr.Ali Tauqeer Sheikh CEO of Lead Pakistan briefed about the working and achievements of lead Pakistan.The workshop was attended by government officials, Academia, non- governmental organizations, journalists and other professions.