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The News

Published Date: Feb 15, 2012

PAKISTAN, INDIA MUST EXPLORE VISTAS OF COOPERATION

Pakistan and India must discuss and explore vistas of cooperation on climate change as both countries have an integrated ecological system with shared natural resources, said Shafqat Kakakhel, former deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
He was addressing a three-day Pakistan-India Track II Dialogue on (Climate) Change for Peace organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung here on Monday. Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, adviser to the Planning Commission on Climate Change and Development, was in the chair.
Kakakhel stressed on the need for collaboration between South Asian countries on climate change. He said water availability in the region is highly susceptible due to climate change which affects glacial melt and monsoon system that feeds the rivers in sub-continent. He was of the view that Saarc can be instrumental and must serve as principle vehicle for sub-regional cooperation on issues related to environment, climate change and socio-economic development in the region.
He said there is a negligible progress on translating the Saarc commitments made at Dhaka and Thimphu summits into practical actions, mainly due to lack of political will, weak environmental cooperation in the region and absence of a serious attitude of countries towards Saarc.
Dr Ishfaq said that India and Pakistan are facing common adversary in the form of climate change requiring collective response. He said, we must down the gap particularly on water, if not on all issues, and institutionalise and devise appropriate strategies for climate change adaptation.
Sanjay Vashist, programme adviser (climate change) at the Heinrich Boll Foundation, India, said that climate change threat can be converted into an opportunity through effective bilateral talks and coordination and we must need to move ahead leaving behind minor differences in mutual benefit of billions of people in South Asia.
Britta Peterson, country director of the HBS Pakistan, asked the delegates to come up with new and practical ideas as gravity of situation needed concrete efforts to carve out a realistic roadmap for Indo-Pak collaboration on combating climate change and to provide comprehensive, policy-relevant, science-based assessment of environment in South Asia to policy-makers.
Axel Harneit Sievers, country director of the HBS India, said dialogue on climate change between two countries is essential to systematically improve relations and particularly discuss issues where both countries have a common position.
Shakeel Ahmad Ramay of the SDPI briefed participants on the objectives and goals of conference and maintained that Track-II Dialogue was aimed at providing platform for experts and people across the border to come and discuss the possibilities for cooperation under climate change regime with joint research-policy-action and sharing of technology, knowledge and experiences. Earlier, a documentary produced by the Sustainable Development Television on climate change was screened.