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The News

Published Date: Dec 19, 2013

S Asia MPs discuss climate change

Sanjay
Vashist, Advisor Climate & Resource Programme, Heinrich Boll
Foundation-India, said that climate change induces reduction in protein
content of grains and reduced food availability which would consequently
lead to a 35% increase in stunted growth of children by 2050 in South
Asia.

Mr Vashist was delivering inaugural address at the
first day of “South Asian parliamentarians and policy workers at work:
putting climate adaptation, food security, population dynamics back in
the agenda” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute in
collaboration with Climate Action Network of South Asia and Oxfam.

Parliamentarians from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Srilanka and China attending the moot.

Mr Vashist said that Pakistan and western India are the warmest places of South Asia.

Senator
Mushahid Hussain Syed said that around 500 million people in South Asia
live on the coastal belt and their livelihoods will be destroyed if the
sea levels rise due to climate change. He said that there is an
immediate need for revival of Ministry of Climate Change along-with a
new Ministry of Disaster Management. He also stressed a regional
approach deal with the impact of climate change in South Asia.

Dr
Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director, SDPI, said that human activity,
seasonal extremity and natural calamities are responsible for climate
change. He said that there is no linear solution to the problems
Pakistan is facing. He enumerated 6 problems starting Fs: as fiscal
crisis, fuel crisis, functional democracy, frontiers crises, food
insecurity fragility of climate change. He said that 68 per cent of
budget is allocated on defence and debt whereas development is third in
priority.

While answering a question of this scribe, Mome
Saleem, research coordinator SDPI, said that South Asia needs
cooperation and not competition to counter the common threats faced by
the countries. She observed that the role of women is crucial in
adaptation with regard to climate change. She shared several experiences
where women in mountainous areas are using indigenous wisdom to counter
the impacts of climate change. There is a need to learn from these
experiences.

She pointed out that the cabinet Tuesday
agreed to give priority to non-traditional security concerns including
climate change, food security and human rights.

Zeenat
Niazi from India said that highly trained staff, technical and
administrative knowledge along with budgetary allocation and a proper
forum for parliamentarian is required. She said that recycled and
alternate building materials saves 12 to 40 % of the total energy used
enduring materials production .

Ziaul Hoque Mukta from
Bangladesh, said that industrial countries are responsible for climate
change in the region. Ananada Pokharel observed that the agenda of SAARC
should be to address the hungry people and the needs of marginalided
farmers. Ikram Syed, Member of Parliament from Afghanistan, Zheng Qi,
Oxfam China, Tahir Rasheed, LEAD Pakistan, and Ashoka Abhayagunawardhne
from Srilanka, Manjeet Dhakal, Program Director, Clean Energy, Nepal,
also spoke on the occasion.