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The Nation

Published Date: Jun 21, 2011

CLIMATE CHANGE RISKING NATIONAL SECURITY

Urging comprehensive policies and concerted efforts to deal with the complex and devastative effects of climate change, speakers at a seminar on Monday resolved that climate change has become a serious threat to human and national security (Pakistan. Speak­ers were of the view that climate change has become a major threat for Pakistan and as it severely affects country’s food, water and energy security, human health, coastal areas and also have a po­tential to lead to human migration.

Arshad Muhammad Khan, Executive Director Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), Islamabad, Dr Noman S Star, Head of Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Na­tional Defence University (NDU) and Shakeel Ahmed Ramay, Senior Re­search Associate Climate Change Study Centre, Sustainable Development Pol­icy Institute (SDPI), spoke at the sem­inar on “Looming dangers of climate change on national and human secu­rity” organized by Sustainable Devel­opment Policy Institute (SDPI).

Shakeel Ahmad Ramay said that the biggest manifestation of climate change in Pakistan was 2010 floods, which led to damages of over 10 billion dollars at – least. He said Pakistan’s all regions ex­cept Gilgit-Baltistan are highly vul­nerable to the affects of climate change with regard to agricultural production.

He further deplored the country’s population has to face all these sever challenges in a situation when the country has no national agricultural policy ex­cept in KPK and no food security policy and also increasing trans-boundary In­dia-Pakistan disputes over water is­sues which will also impact the peace process in this region significantly.

Dr Noman S Star said the climate change is a threat multiplier to national and human security and is a complex challenge to global community espe­cially for resource-starved developing countries. He said it is a very complex and technical problem for the whole world and even the United States in its 2006 National Security Strategy as­ signed its defence department to plan for deadly pandemics and other natu­ral disasters. “Declining ecosystem services, threat of climate change, and m V/AIDS related problems, combine to create or exacerbate political insta­bility and economic hardship for mil­lions in Africa clearly explain this Linkage as to why90 percent of current conflicts are found in 30 percent of the poor­est countries” he added.

Arshad Muhammad Khan was of the view that anthropogenic influences since the industrial revolution, spiraling population, high pace of industrialization, increased use of fossil oils in industry and transportation, and deforestation for agriculture and Urbanization have led to the process of climate change.

He said that climate change included global warming, increased precipitation and its uneven distribution, melting of glaciers and snow, sea level rise, increase in frequency and sensitivity of extreme weath­er events while the impacts were ap­parent in the shape of uncertainty in wa­ter availability, decreased in crops yields, loss of bio-diversity, increased health risks, and newer perspectives for sources of energy.