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Dawn

Published Date: Jan 22, 2013

Call to involve private sector in setting up water reservoirs

ISLAMABAD, Jan 21: Participants of a seminar on Monday
recommended to the cash-strapped government to involve private sector in
setting up water reservoirs and generating energy
.

Speaking
at a seminar on “Climate Change as National Security Threat”, which was
organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), they said main
victim of climate change was water which was becoming scarce and would
ultimately affect food and energy.

They
said India was one of the largest producers of solar energy and Pakistan should
also opt for this mode of energy generation.

Chairman
Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q)
Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Syed assured to include climate change as a
threat in national security strategy.

He
said the climate change had put the fate and livelihoods of billions of South
Asians at stake and their governments had to act now to protect them.

Mushahid
Hussain Syed said after Kashmir, water had become another source of dispute
between India and Pakistan.

Mr
Hussain said South Asia was prone to climate change, which had been highlighted
by its leadership.

Referring
to water disputes between the provinces and Kalabagh dam issue, he said they
had threatened the federation and integrity of the country.

Earlier,
former Ambassador, Assistant Secretary General UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
during 1998-2007 Shafqat Kakakhel said that Climate Change is not a scientific
fiction but a proven global phenomenon. But the question is what the government
of Pakistan is doing to neutralise its effects on the country.

He
said: “We have to take concrete steps to increase water reservoirs because 78
per cent water comes from India and Afghanistan which will decrease with the
passage of time.”

He
said the major source of water in Indian rivers is monsoon rains but in
Pakistan, more than 60 per cent of water comes from glacial melt.

He
further added that Pakistani water resources are either located in India or pass
through it.

Talking
of policy challenges, he said that 18th Amendment was good move but it was
carried out in most indecent haste without proper consultation with
stakeholders.

He
proposed increased role of parliamentary bodies to deal with ecological and
environmental challenges the country faced.

Senior
Researcher at SDPI, Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, said the biggest manifestation of
climate change in Pakistan was 2010 floods which inflicted billions of dollars
damages to the country.

He
said that the country faces agricultural and water challenges and degradation
of natural resources as a result of climate change will lead to decrease in
agricultural production.

“Country’s
48.7 percent population was food insecure before 2010 floods and now it has
gone up to around 58.7 per cent. Nation has been facing all these challenges in
a situation where there is no visible state response to these challenges,” he
said.

“Military
expeditions are also becoming reason of climate changes and Siachen glacier is
one such example where glaciers are rapidly melting due to presence of military
of the two countries,” he said.

Participants
were also of the view that steps should be taken to save ‘ozone layer’, which
protects earth from ultraviolet and infrared raises.