evidence accumulated over the last two decades clearly shows that human
activity has reached a level where it is significantly affecting the global
environment. Furthermore, the global change due to anthropogenic perturbations
is happening at a much shorter time scale compared to the natural events. It is
feared that some of the resulting adverse impacts will have serious
implications in areas such as climate, health, water, energy, food security
etc. in many parts of the world. Developing countries with weak scientific and
technological base will be most vulnerable to such adverse impacts.
In the present global change scenario Pakistan is facing a number of challenges
in its quest to move forward along the path of sustainable development. The
most important among these is the provision of basic human needs for its fast
growing population without irreversibly damaging her fragile eco-systems.
However, natural processes are so complex and variable that, before any
mitigation strategy is embarked upon, a basic understanding is essential of the
processes that affect the environment and also the ways they will impact
various sectors of development.
Besides the global environment change, the technological revolution brought
about by science itself is also fundamentally affecting human life. The
information technology revolution is but one example. Any nation not making use
of the opportunities that new technologies offer will remain weak and
underdeveloped. Being cognizant of the pressing need for a multi-disciplinary
effort to monitor the current and likely future global trends in various
scientific and technological disciplines and to scientifically analyse their
likely impacts on the socio-economic development in Pakistan, Global
Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) was established on the initiative of Dr.
Ishfaq Ahmad, Special Advisor to the Chief Executive of Pakistan with a seed
money provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Centre started
functioning in May 2002. Later on GCISC has been supported
by the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Environment.
In January 2005 a high level committe called the Prime Minister's
Committee on Climate Change was established and GCISC was
designated as its Secretariat. The Committee comprises the Prime
Minister, Ministers for Water & Power, Food & Agriculture and
Science & Technology, Minister of State for Environment, Deputy
Chairman, Planning Commission and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.