During the panel discussion, Former Federal Minister, Population Planning and President Emeritus FPAP, Dr Attiya Inayatullah said the German Watch Report of 2020 ranked Pakistan as the fifth most vulnerable country due to climate change which was also the fifth largest country in terms of population.
She suggested that a policy framework was required to recognise multiple factors contributing to climate change in Pakistan, adding, “We need to tackle climate change issues in a holistic and inter-sectoral manner.”
Dr Attiya said it was a priority of every discourse that linked climate change with population and no rocket science was needed to understand this population-climate link. The recent unprecedented torrential floods had proved it, she added,
She mentioned that with a decline in population, there would be reduction in carbon emissions which would be permanent and to be achieved through positive actions improving human lives.
“Water resource management should be the priority of the country and it has the instruments like the Council of Common Interest (CCI) to achieve these goals.”
She warned that due to environmental risks migration to urban slums was much higher than those made through proper planning or intention.
She proposed that the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) should take lead through CCI to establish a robust inter-provincial coordination and lead role in coordination for managing climate crisis that was missing at the moment.
Country Director, Pakistan Population Council Zeba Sathar was of the view that the underline vulnerabilities due to environmental degradation were also contributing to regional politics. Moreover, poverty, climate change and poor governance was collectively causing compounding effect in enhancing global warming and natural calamities.
Social Policy Advisor Ministry of Planning and Development Nadeem Ahmed said climate change was part of planning discourse where climate resilient infrastructure was being focussed as the future need. The government, he said was giving priority to ecosystem restoration and it was a high debate at the level of the Planning Ministry.
Environmental Journalist, Zofeen Ebraheem said Pakistan was in trouble due to huge floods because of bulging size of its population where the government was unable to handle it due to paucity of resources and capacity.
The Stanford University made an estimation that the world would have two billion more humans added to its current population on this November 15 leading the world to become home of eight billion masses.
“More than 65% of future diseases will be zoonotic in nature due to alarming damage being done to nature by adverse anthropogenic activities.”
The population boom was shrinking water availability that was concerning and demanded urgent attention of the stakeholders at all levels, she added.
Environmentalist and Journalist Afia Salam said also highlighted serious impacts of population rise leading to environmental degradation and contraction of natural resources and biodiversity loss.
Dr Shafqat Munir in his concluding remarks extended his gratitude to the panelists and said the SDPI was going to announce a dedicated panel on loss and damage and other important climate issues. “This seminar is part of a strong advocacy series to flag civil society concerns and enhance advocacy outreach on climate change at the grass roots level.”
He added that the loss and damage and population control were very important issues and the SDPI was working to plead a strong case of Pakistan at the COP-27 in Eg