World Bank offers to help Pakistan tackle climate change

ISLAMABAD: Federal Climate Change Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan said on Wednesday that climate change is posing a serious risk to Pakistan’s development gains and new development plans are being thrashed out for achieving sustainable socio-economic development goals.

“However, mainstreaming climate change into policy making and development activities is vital to dealing with the various development and climate change issues in the country,” the secretary stressed during an important meeting between a three-member delegation of the World Bank and the ministry officials.

The secretary chaired the meeting while the World Bank delegation was led by Lead Economist Muthukumara S. Mani. Discussing preparation for the Pakistan’s case for global climate change in Paris later this year, deliberating on workable ways and means for boosting understanding about climate issues and their impacts on poverty reduction efforts and implementation of their national climate policy and climate resilience action plans in selected sectors i.e. water, energy and urban development were among key objectives of the meeting held here in the ministry.

Mani said that climate change remains an economic development challenge for Pakistan in terms of threats to food and water security, agricultural productivity, rural and coastal livelihoods, disease processes and production of essential environmental services.

The country’s energy use is growing rapidly and becoming more emissions intensive because of the mineral intensive industrialization and rising use of motorized transport, which has become a major source of rising levels of air pollution and cause of health consequences, he added.

“However, the Bank is ready to support Pakistan’s efforts to develop a lower carbon, more climate-resilient growth pathways, which are inevitable for building country’s climate-resilience against negative impacts of climate change,” the World Bank’s lead economist told the meeting.

He emphasized the need for understanding impacts of climate change on poverty in the country and identifying viable policy measures to overcome these impacts. The World Bank delegation also underlined the need for south-south exchange programmes for sharing knowledge and technical expertise in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Senior Environmental Specialist in the World Bank South Asia Region Disaster Risk Management & Climate Change Unit, Ms Akiko Nakagawa, told the meeting that as far as the south-south exchange programmes are concerned, Vietnam offers good lessons for Pakistan to learn about implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes for mitigating country’s climate-vulnerability in the field of disaster management, energy efficiency, efficient water management, climate-smart farming and sustainable forest management.

“The World Bank is ready to actualize exchange programmes for Pakistan, under which government officials of the climate change ministry and relevant line and provincial departments can be enabled or provided with opportunities to learn from Vietnam’s climate resilience building experiences in different socio-economic development sectors and replicate these mitigation and adaptation models in Pakistan,” she said.

The climate change secretary appreciated the World Bank for supporting Pakistan in all possible ways for achieving sustainable socio-economic goals, poverty reduction and climate-resilience building. He also appreciated the Bank’s delegation for extending offers for making Pakistan climate-resilient, water & energy efficient and food secure country.

The secretary told the delegation that these offers would be taken into account and all relevant government departments would be taking on board in this regard. Climate change ministry’s Director-General (Environment and Climate Change Policy, Irfan Tariq, was also present during the meeting, who also spoke on the occasion and told the World Bank delegation of various efforts being taken by the ministry for mitigating climate change impacts on the country’s different socio-economic sectors.