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Daily Times

Published Date: Jul 24, 2015

NARC land issue resounds at international climate conference

* PARC chairman raises concern over CDA summary seeking approval for developing a housing society at NARC

ISLAMABAD: The land issue of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) soundly echoed at the international climate change conference, during which the experts advised the government to let the centre exist at its current place for ensuring food security and environment protection.

The three-day Policy Conference on ‘Action for Adaptation: Bringing climate change science to policy makers’ has been organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan.

Over 100 researchers, policy-makers, journalists, students and practitioners, working on the climate change issue, have been participating in the conference to come out with a practicable and workable solution for adaptation of climate change.

During the first session of the conference, the government was recommended to protect NARC and other such national institutions that have been contributing in building the nation.

The government was also recommended to provide adequate funds and investment for research and development to cope with the challenges of climate change. Protection of environment was another recommendation made on the occasion, and the government was advised to focus its policies for protecting existing forests and trees and in addition, new plants should be planted for betterment of the future.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Women Development and Social Welfare AJ&K Minister Farzana Yaqoob highlighted the importance of NARC for food security and for developing country’s economy on sustainable grounds.

She highlighted the importance of creating awareness on the climate change issue and also suggested for utilising social media for this purpose.

Former federal minister for Information and Broadcasting Nisar Memon said that the climates change has not only affected the mountainous regions of Pakistan but had also impacted the plains of the country.

He underlined the importance of making public plans for adapting to climate change for better future. However, he lamented that there have been laws that lack implementation. He said that those violating laws should be punished and it would help implement the policies with better results.

Gilgit-Biltistan Forest, Wildlife and Environment Minster Muhammad Wakeel said that the government has initiated a process to introduce new policy for the protection of the forests, adding that it also aim to plant thousands of plants during the current season.

PARC Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said the investments on the agriculture sector were the lowest in Pakistan compared to the regional countries. He said that we have had technologies but we need to take advantage of them. The PARC chairman raised concern over the summary of Capital Development Authority (CDA) seeking approval for developing housing society at NARC. He said that this would prove disastrous for the country as it would not only aggravate the food security situation but would also drastically affect the environment.

He was of the view that the nations that do not take care of their institutions do not exist longer, adding that the NARC has not only contributed a lot for the development of agriculture sector of the country but also contributed in the development of other countries.

ICIMOD Director General David Molden in his welcome address, informed the participants about the workings of the ICIMOD. He was of the view that although climate change brings about a challenge but it also provides new opportunities in terms of water, food, energy and bio-diversity.

He said that about four billion people have been depending on mountains for their daily livelihood, so special attention needs to be given to adapt climate change. He said that there is risk of disasters due to climate change and we have to be ready to cope with it.

Inspector General Forests Mahmood Nasir, former chairman PARC Abid Qayyum Suleri, Ameer Muhammad, Nand Kishore Agarwal, Farid Ahmad along with climate and agriculture experts, also spoke on the occasion and informed the participants about the impacts of climate change.