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One Pakistan

Published Date: Jul 26, 2012

PAKISTAN WORKING TO PROVIDE DISASTER RISK INSURANCE FOR ITS 180 M PEOPLE: CHAIRMAN NDMA

Dr. Zafar Qadir, Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Wednesday that Pakistan is working on to provide disaster risk insurance for its 180 million population which is the biggest ever insurance venture anywhere in the world.

He said this while addressing a joint consultation on ‘Climate change policy and pre-Monsoon institutional response” organized by Sustainable Policy Development Institute and Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) in collaboration with United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and National Disaster Management Authority here at a local hotel.

Prof. Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad, Director External Linkages and Incharge Climate Change Cell, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad,  Mehmood Alam, Secretary, PDMA Punjab,  Shahzad Khan Bangash, Director General, PDMA/PaRRSA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , Hashim Ali,  Secretary /Director General, PDMA, Sindh,  Faisal khatak, Fata Disaster Management Authority, Peshawar, Munir Sheikh, Head Climatology Section, Global Change Impact Study Center (GCISC), Islamabad and Sardar Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Secretary, State Disaster Management  Authority, AJK also spoke on the occasion.
Dr. Zafar Qadar said provision of disaster risk would cover the loss of crops, shelter, livestock as well human lives and livelihood. He said that the changing monsoon patterns and increased frequency of disaster with bigger magnitude are posing new threats and challenges linking the climate change with disasters.

He apprised the participants that last year in 2011,civilian institutes lead the disaster response operations for the first time in Pakistan earlier performed by Army. He also informed that, For the first time elaborate contingency plans have been developed by NDMA at district, provincial and national level with consultation from all stakeholders. He also shared measures for disaster mitigation that included inclusion of disaster preparedness education in school curricula, gender mainstreaming in preparedness plans and training and capacity building of the disaster response institutions.

Naseer Memon, Chief Executive, SPO was of the view that current national climate change policy (NCCP) 2011 will not make an impact without integrated institutional efforts and coordinated approach. He opined that policies in Pakistan were not followed in spirit and there are serious gaps in their effective implementation. “Pakistan need to adopt an approach of climatically appropriate development planning,” he went on to add and suggested that, “a nationwide disaster mapping, risk reduction planning and effective response mechanism is immediately required to avoid more catastrophes.”

Chairing the session on climate change policy review, Jawed Ali Khan, Director General, Environment expressed that today the disaster we face are mostly the human induced disaster. He appreciated SPO and SDPI for initiating dialogue on NCCP policy and reiterated governments resolve to cope with daunting challenges of climate change.  He also briefed participants on recent MOUs government signed with German and Italian research organizations to strengthen and reinforce linkages with international bodies on climate change.

Dr Qamar-Uz-Zaman Chaudhry, former DG MET, Advisor Climate Affairs, Government of Pakistan and lead author of NCCP discussed most talked about aspects of the policy. He informed that NCCP formulation was an independent process with the most extensive consultation exercise involving around 500 experts and stakeholders from all across the country. He responded to some of the concerns showed on the policy and said, difference between policy & action plan documents needs to be understood. “Policies documents have to be general setting the direction of the government in a particular field where as the action plan document is supposed to translate the policy into specific actions,” he went on to add.

Earlier, Hammad Raza Khan, consultant SPO presented a review paper on Pakistan’s first National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) 2011. He said, NCCP provides a baseline framework to address climate change related issues in Pakistan and garner many short and long term benefits. He was of the view that NCCP discuss many subjects which are now developed to provinces after 18th amendment such as agriculture, health, forestry and environment. Giving a critical overview, he said, some of the recommendations proposed in NCCR lack scientific scrutiny and there are instances of recommendations which were unnecessary, overzealous or contradicting dealing with unwarranted subjects.

Talking of implementation mechanism, he said, NCCR has dysfunctional policy implementation mechanism which are most likely to fail. He also showed concerns over financial aspects and said, keeping in view the present economic viability of the country some of the recommendations are likely to have serious financial implications. NDMA and provincial disaster management bodies shared their preparedness plans for upcoming monsoon season of 2012.