Islamabad: Pakistan is taking a number of initiatives to prevent crop damage due to weather hazards, which are changing cropping pattern, climate minister said.
Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan, addressing a conference in Bonn, said the government is introducing short duration food crops suited for high altitude and new feedstock technology for livestock. The programme is to restrict illegal trade of timber, develop mountain ecology, protect agricultural terraces from extreme soil erosion, wind, hailstorm and snowstorm related dam and build vegetative barriers to combat rangeland erosion and increase forest cover.
“Aforementioned efforts will contribute towards overcoming the adverse effects of climate change in mountain areas and improve livelihoods of the local communities,” Khan said in a statement on Wednesday.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development hosted the conference titled “Cooperation for Building Resilient Mountain Communities”. Pakistan has the Himalayan, Karakorum and Hindukush (HKH) mountain range, which is the largest glacier in the world outside the Polar regions.
The mountainous region plays an important role in global climate change and is the source of large river systems. Climate-related hazards, like heat waves, glacial lake outburst floods, avalanches and landslides result in extensive human and material losses.
Climate change minister said a major part of the snow and ice mass of the HKH region in Pakistan is concentrated in the watersheds of the Indus basin. “As a result of the rapidly changing climatic conditions, the glaciers in Pakistan are receding at a much faster rate, particularly due to rapid changes in the world’s temperatures.”
The minister, referring to the National Climate Change Policy, said the most likely climate change risks to the mountain areas of Pakistan include change in cropping patterns and increase in frequency and intensity of precipitation, wind storms and temperature.
The minister said Pakistan’s extreme vulnerability to climate change is because of its geographic, demographic and diverse climatic conditions. Climate changes pose threats to water energy and food security due to inherent arid climate that is coupled with the high degree of reliance on water from glacial snowmelt.
He said the approach brought in by National Determined Contribution Partnership, developed in 2015 to address climate change, offers a great opportunity to achieve 2030 agenda for sustainable development through building and strengthening collaboration with regional and international institutions.
“Pakistan will indeed avail this opportunity to learn from other country parties to further increase support for the mountain communities,” he added. Khan said the country would look forward to achieve long term and climate neutral development goals through enhanced action along with global community. “Pakistan believes the principal of common but differentiated responsibilities must be followed and the spirit of Paris Agreement should remain pivotal, so that our efforts remain convergent to achieve more resilient future for our generation.”
Climate change minister said reliance on natural resources is central to the livelihoods of many rural communities and degradation of ecosystems. “The natural habitats in the mountainous region of Pakistan will shrink and shift under global warming.