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The News

Published Date: Feb 24, 2013

Climate change biggest threat to security

Climate
change is turning out to be the most fundamental non-traditional security
threat for Pakistan and its impacts can already be felt in the form of floods,
droughts, cyclones and sea level rise in and around Pakistan.

SDPI’s
Senior Research Associate Shakeel Ahmad Ramay said at a seminar on
‘Non-traditional security threats: global governance system to combat the
challenges’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Ramay
said that non-traditional security threats are challenges, that arise primarily
out of non-military sources, such as climate change, resource scarcity,
infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migrations and food shortages.
He said that these dangers are often trans-national in scope, defying
unilateral remedies and requiring comprehensive political, economic and social
responses.

He
said that non-traditional security threats are trans-national and not confined
to national boundaries and so we need international framework to address the
issue. But regrettably, he lamented, there is no coordinated effort at global
level with clear mandate and scope to tackle the issue, which needs our urgent
attention.

Former
UN assistant secretary-general said that non- traditional security threats for
Pakistan included terrorism, fragile and interconnected water, food and energy
security, population explosion, poverty, irregular urbanisation, narcotics, ill
health, and deteriorating economic conditions. He said that Pakistan never had
a national security doctrine and it is time that we prepare one now. He said
that impacts of non-traditional security threats are serious enough and
warrants envisioning a new paradigm. He referred to Chapter 2 of Constitution,
which lists principles of state responsibilities and proposed that it must be
included into new national security doctrine.

He
argued that most of the non-traditional security threats are manageable through
better management and innovations. Referring to water scarcity, he said 93 per
cent of water resources in Pakistan are used by agriculture whereas the world
average is 60-70% and if we can bring down water usage in agriculture to world
average, water scarcity can be solved.

Kakakhel
cited the words of renowned American expert and advocate of green energy, Carl
Pope, who on his recent visit to Pakistan has said that Pakistan, with its
abundance of renewable energy potential, should have by now the most energy
affluent country. He said the only thing not controllable is natural disasters
and the best remedial measure possible is the strengthening resilience of local
communities to cope with the negative impacts of disasters.

Chairing
the session, Akram Zaki, former foreign secretary, however, said that the bad
governance is the most serious non-traditional security threat to the country’s
territorial integrity and sovereignty. All existing traditional as well as
other social, economic, political, and environmental induced threats have been
emancipated from decades of bad-governance, corruption and mismanagement. He
said that we have to introduce good governance in Pakistan to tackle grave
issues concerning Pakistan. He also called for immediate restoration of local
government system in the country. He said that Pakistan needs a new social
contract where basic minimum needs of citizens based on social and economic
justice and equity are fulfilled.