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Published Date: Jun 7, 2012


Speakers at a consultation has demanded the conservation of ecosystem in Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) in Gilgit Biltistan and urged to establish a Steering Committee of relevant stakeholder under the preview of Ministry of Climate Change to protect biodiversity in the region .

They were discussing at a “Consultation on Climate Change and Ecosystem Assessment of the CKNP Region, GB” here on Thursday. The seminar was organized to share findings of assessment study carried out by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ev-K2-CNR, Government of Italy, to assess the impacts of climate change on ecosystem and socio-economic conditions in Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) region.

The study explored the options available to inhabitants to adapt to climate change and also to develop pilot projects in the near future. The study highlights drastic changes in climatic conditions in the region and reveals that CKNP region has become warmer with increased rainfalls , changed snow patterns and less intensity of winter season. Also the land use patterns have changed with focus shifting from agriculture to services and increased urbanization. The study also says that Fana and Flora of CKNP is under threat with loss of plant species, lessen fruit production, and threat to endangered species mostly because of human interferences and deforestation.

Ambassador (Retd) Shafqat Kakakhel, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary General, and Member Board Of Governors, SDPI said that impacts of climate change are likely to exacerbated in the region and we must act fast to cope with challenges and conserve both natural and built up environment, improve quality of life, preserve culture and biodiversity of CKNP region whose plant and animal habitat is of global importance.

Haruko Okusu, Programme Officer, UNEP said that CKNP region has rich natural biodiversity and cultural heritage. She said, CKNP region is highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change and efforts must to improve the quality of life of local communities and the conservation of environment, architectural and cultural heritage of the region. She said, its utmost important to enhance the capacity of local communities and institutions to adapt to climate change for sustainable development in the area.

Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Research Fellow, SDPI lamented authorities for ignoring devastating impacts of climate change on ecosystem of northern areas. He said, there is a need of integrated study for the CKNP region that tries to explore issues and remedies through a social, economic and environmental appraisal. He talked of adaptation to climate change to make communities resilient against the impacts of climate change and suggested some appropriate adaptation strategies for Implementation. He said, environmental appraisal of projects in the regions must be ensured, because currently, no elaborate environmental appraisal is being carried out of projects like Diamir Bhasha Dam, Bungi Dams or public sector development programs in the region.

He informed that China is planning to invest over 100 billion US dollar in neighboring XinJiang province in the next 5 years for developmental purposes. He said we need to also study the impacts of this huge programme on CKNP region as environmental cost of this developmental project can devastating for the region.  He was of the view that while assessing socio-economic impact of climate change, focus must go beyond poverty and address dimension of food security. He urged for planning economic growth in compliance with environmental quality and social equity and said there must be greater role of federal government in planning as provinces have issue of capacity and will to undertake reform.

Dr. Jawed Ali Khan , Director General, Ministry of Climate Change stressed on the need for in-depth study of fragile eco-system in CKNP with strategic goals . He said, any substantial climatic change in the region could adversely affect whole of Pakistan through its effect on the Indus River system.

Munir Ahmad of Global Change Impact Study Center (GCISC) underlined to need to consider green economy for environmental protection, social equity and sustainable development. He said, indigenous agricultural practices must be combined scientific innovation for sustainable growth.

In closing session, Sehrish Jahangir of SDPI, presented dissemination strategy and campaign kit to sensitise local communities on adaptation startegise for climate Change. Some of the other speakers who spoke on the event include Dr. Ijaz Khan of WWF, Babar Khan, Head WWF – Pakistan (GB), Muhammad Ramzan, Secretary General Agricultural Foundation of Pakistan.