Honorable Chief Guest, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mr. Sartaj Aziz,

Honorable Minister of Climate Change Senator Mushaidullah Khan

Special Guest Ambassador Shafqat Khakakhel

Executive Director GCISC, Dr. Tariq Banuri

Presented by: Mr. Muhammad Arif Goheer

 

ISLAMABAD, DECEMBER 20, 2017: The closing session of the Science Policy Conference on Climate Change was held on 20 Dec 2017. The Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, and Honorable Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mr. Sartaj Aziz attend this session.

 

Climate change is a reality. Pakistan is a witness to its adverse impacts. In the past 20 years, the country has been hit by recurrent and devastating floods, recurrent heat waves, a prolonged drought, erratic weather patterns leading to lowered agricultural productivity, emergence of new diseases, and the looming threat of desertification due to the recession of the Himalayan glaciers.

 

In the backdrop of these critical circumstances, the Science-policy conference on climate change was organized to;

1.  Enhance scientific understanding of the changing climate and associated impacts on socio-economic sectors.

2. Develop policy recommendations to address the challenges affecting Pakistan's development.

3. Promote coordination among researchers and institutions working on different aspects of climate change in Pakistan and facilitating their collaboration with international scientists and experts engaged in similar research activities.

4. Sharing of knowledge and best practices on adaptation strategies, including capacity building of national institutions and experts.

The Conference has been organized by GCISC with the support of several important partners, including the HEC, SDPI, COMSATS, NDMA, PMD, PARC, PCRET, HBS, NRSP, the University of Utah, and the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water and attended by more than 700 delegates representing International and national research organizations, academia, government, media, law, parliamentarians and civil society.

31 national organizations contributed to the activities of this conference in one way or the other.

The participants included Eminent international Scientists as well as Pakistani Researchers both from within the country and working abroad Steve Burian, Tom Downing, Youba Sokona, Paul Deshankar, Jeff Ulemon, Adil Najam, Saleem Ali, Asim Zia, and Abrar Chaudhary and several young scientists pursuing climate change research aboard were Moetsim Ashfaq, Fahad Saeed, Imran Nadeem, Shabeh-ul-Hasan, Abrar Chaudhary, Chaman Gul, Qurat-ul-Ain Ahmad, Sardar Mumtaz, Sher Muhammad and Sana Ilyas.

The conference comprised of 5 parallel research workshops. The themes are a) Climate Science, b) Climate and water, c) Agriculture and Food Security, d) Impacts and adaptation and e) mitigation and policy. The purpose of these workshops was to allow researchers to present the latest research on these areas. Each research workshop was distributed into 9 sessions of one and a half hour each and in each session 3 papers were presented. On overall 140 papers were presented.

In the first stream in climate science, papers reported that mean and extreme temperatures in future are likely to increase in all parts of the country. However, in case of precipitation, the models do not give any significant signal except for showing some increase in the northern parts of the country. Temperature extremes in the form of heatwaves are going to increase in future over most parts of the country. The need for effective contingency plan and regular updating of glaciers and glacial lakes was also stressed

In the climate and water research workshops, the researchers reported that the number of climate-water related challenges facing Pakistan are increasing. They include rising temperatures, unpredictable precipitation patterns, glacier melting, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, low storage capacity, poor irrigation infrastructure, recurring droughts and floods, rising sea levels, environmental degradation, and governance issues associated with these stresses. Climate change affects the volume and variability of inflows which poses threats to food security, the safety of infrastructure, civic services, human health and hygiene and energy security. The presenters recommended increasing storage capacity, improving water-use efficiency, institutional capacity building and investing in water saving projects. 

The speakers in the session on agriculture and food security recommended precision farming, practicing water use efficiency and employing adopting to various agronomic and breeding techniques.

A Total of 29 papers were presented in the Mitigation and Policy workshop. The recommended investment in renewable energy, which has the potential of providing highest economic benefits, decent jobs.

The workshop sessions, round tables and side events were chaired by Parliamentarians including like Mushahid Hussain Syed, Uzair Malik, Nuzhat Sadiq, Nisar Memon, Malik Amin Aslam, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, eminent scientists and academicians like, Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Dr. Yousaf Zafar, Dr. Nadeem Abbassi, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhary, Dr. Ghulam Rasool, Dr. Muhamamd Ashraf, and Secretaries like Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Secretary MoCC, Arif Ahmad Khan Secretary EAD, Mr. Fazal Abbass Maken Secretary of Ministry of Food Security and Research and Chairman NDMA.

 

Besides mapping the currently ongoing research the Thematic Round tables were also organized. The objective of organizing the roundtables was to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders on a priority issue to consult with each other, establish a platform for future consultations, and plan future activities in regard to their domain of work, including, e.g., future research and publication plans, and future meetings and their expected results. These round tables covered the issues of water, glaciers, energy, Nationally determined contributions, climate finance, low carbon development pathways, CPEC, Information technology and climate change and security. Eminent experts contributed to the deliberations and present novel ideas.

The Roundtable on Climate and Finance recommended the following:

-         Need hardcore projects to attract more financing under GCF

-         Growing global renewable energy transition is an opportunity for developing more projects that are innovative, cost effective and revenue generating.

-         Should be focusing not just on the GCF but look for other options for financing as well.

The participants of NDC roundtable urged the need to invest stringently in indigenous research, creating and enforcing Biodiversity laws and promoting sustainable natural development.

Based on the recommendation of Glaciers roundtable a Glaciers forum is being launched.

 

Side events were arranged on the topics of role of media, climate and business, climate and civil society, national adaptation plans, role of parliamentarians in dealing climate change and climate law.

 

Side event on climate and business highlighted the 4 key areas viz.

1.Relevant and clear policies for business corporations. 
2.Capacity mobilization 
3.Finance and funding 
4.Project development and support
Which  need immediate attention.

Side event on climate and civil society urged the need of a strong network between civil society and institutes like GCISC and SDPI in order to tackle CC  by conducting peer learning sessions to identify new innovation ideas that could be implemented.


Media is the main vehicle for outreach. In the side event with media close interation of the research institute like GCISC, PMD, PARC and PCRWR with the media was emphasized for effective communication and awareness of masses on climate change.

 

For all such actions research is required for better informed decisions and we have established the basis of partnerships through this conference. Hopefully we will work together in near future for better outcomes.

 

Two sessions on peoples' voices were organized by NRSP and SIDA to present and discuss the conditions of flood and drought stricken people. The affectees shared their experiences and invited the attention for proactive actions by the concerned to avoid such in future.

 

SP3C also acquired poster contributions from different universities and organizations. Under climate and water theme, the conference received 10 posters, in climate science 7, in food security and agriculture 6, in impacts and adaptation 8 and in mitigation and finance 2 posters. Lead Pakistan contributed 8 infographics related to the conference themes, for participation. The universities and organizations which made the contributions were: LEAD Pakistan, PCRWR, Pakistan met department, SDPI, CIIT (Department of meteorology), University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, International Islamic University, Fatima Jinnah Women University, MUET, NUST, Pir meher ali shah (Arid agriculture university), Quaid-e-azam university ,Skidmore College New York and GCISC. Participants took keen interest in the work of the students and young researchers. A technical committee has also reviewed the poster work and in the proceedings of this session you will hear the technical committee findings.

The Conference also provided an opportunity to various organizations to display their work in the exhibit area. There were 12 stall contributions, the organizations involved were: NDMA, LEAD, PIDE, JS Bank, PCRET, MUET, Bahria university, NHMP, GCISC, SDPI, Roshan Auditory, PARC and PCRWR.

In the essence SP3C 2017 served as a Rambo comprising of multiple color addressing the climate agenda to a resilient Pakistan. No matter how much we can do by ourselves on the national level, whether it be research or development, it is never enough. We have asked the international experts, most of them are present here, to work closely with the centre to do high quality research and they have shown willingness to enter into a longer-term relationship with the Centre.