MoU on climate

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Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank to address one of the most pressing issues of our time, the climate change. Under the agreement, the international financial institution will assist Pakistan in implementing Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Speaking after the signing ceremony on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan mentioned his government’s ‘achievements’ — most notably the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project — as well as goals to mitigate the impact of climate change on Pakistan.

While noting that Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change despite only being responsible for less than 1% of global carbon emissions, the PM rightly chastised developed countries for their failure to address climate change. He insisted that even though in Pakistan’s villages and far-flung mountain towns, locals had been complaining of changing weather patterns, the top carbon emitters only started showing concern relatively recently, often only after their own countries began suffering visible damage from climate change. However, the PM also noted that many of these countries were now taking proactive steps to address climate change, referencing the recent COP26 moot in Glasgow.

Speaking of domestic solutions, Imran said climate change had a significant impact on urban centres and glaciers, which requires nature-based solutions and smarter city design. The PM, however, did not offer many new details on addressing water scarcity, which has been compounded by climate change. He also noted that the scale of deforestation was far greater than was widely known, explaining that the government’s digital cadastral mapping exercise had revealed that several forests that existed in older government records had actually been entirely chopped down. On the same note, he said he had personally witnessed the loss of wildlife during his lifetime, which is why his government was preserving existing national parks and had set up 15 new ones which local people would be trained to manage.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2022.

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