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Tackling Climate Change Impacts on Mountain Ecosystems Critical for Economy: Rana Farooq

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Islamabad, March 14, 2013 (PPI-OT): Federal Climate Change Minister, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan said that Pakistan’s mountain ecosystems are vulnerable to unfold climate change impacts, which have expedited the glacial melt peace disturbed rainfall pattern and affected livelihood of millions of those living in mountain areas.

“Effective mitigation of negative impacts and adapting to them is not possible, if the impacts are not analyzed and their causes not studied in depth, ” he stressed.

He expressed these views while addressing on the occasion of a signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding signed between Italian based Everest K2 Centre (Ev-K2-CNR) and the Global Change Impact Studies Centre – Pakistan (GCISC).

Signed by the Ministry’s Director-General, Jawaid Ali Khan and Ev-K2-CNR’s President Agostino Da Polenza, the MoU aims to establish general understanding to facilitate implementation and coordination of research activities in Pakistan and to strengthen the collaboration in carrying out studies on climate change and identification of appropriate adaptation measures.

GCISC is an attached department of the Ministry that conducts research on impacts of climate change.

The Federal Minister Rana Farooq said that in Pakistan, 22 percent of the GNP is contributed by agriculture. The Indus Basin Irrigation System in Pakistan is the world’s largest and it is estimated that snow and glacier melt contribute over 50 percent of the total flow to this system.

“Climate change is already impacting the glacial regime in the basin. There is a general condition of glacial retreat. Although some cases of glacial advance have been reported in the high Karakorum, it is not known if these are the result of accumulation of ice mass or simply re-orientation of glacial structure under a changed thermal regime.

There is a great need to fill the gap in this basic understanding. Further, it is of utmost importance to assess the impacts of glacial dynamics on water availability in the region. Agriculture and other economic activities rely heavily on water, and changes in water availability can have serious impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people living in the Indus basin,” he said.

However, it is a matter of delight for me that finally MoU has been signed that will help understanding impacts of climate change on mountain ecosystems in northern areas of Pakistan and chalk out mitigation and adaptation plants to cope with the impacts, the minister remarked.

Meanwhile, EV-K2-CNR and GCISC have agreed under the MoU to participate, as scientific partners, in the research projects promoted by the former and install a high altitude atmospheric monitoring station for purposes of research on climate change impacts on mountain ecosystems, glacial melt and water resources.

“But over arching goal of the bilateral agreement is to establish general understanding to facilitate implementation and coordination of research activities in Pakistan and to boost the collaboration in carrying out studies on climate change and identification of appropriate adaptation measures,” said Jawaid Ali Khan, Director-General at the Ministry of Climate Change.

Pakistan Meteorological Department’s former Director-General, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman was also present at the event. He said that Pakistan is vulnerable to climate change threats and environmental degradation, as the two consecutive floods and torrential rains brought disasters and devastation to the country. Glacial melting in mountain areas caused due to rising temperatures have disturbed hydrological cycle and are leading to water and Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), which cause massive damages to life and property in downstream areas.

“The collaboration between EV-K2-CNR and GCISC will understand these vagaries of climate change and boost early warning system of erratic weather patterns and glacial melts,” he hoped.

Earlier, talking about other core objectives of MoU, GCISC’s Executive Director said that EV-K@-CNR in collaboration with GCISC and other relevant stakeholders will carry out projects that include “water availability and variability in Pakistan: impact of natura and anthropogenic pressures on Cryospheric reservoirs and water resources and food and energy security”; “impact of climate change on Karakorum glaciers in Pakistan and water resources in Indus basin as well as adaptation strategies”.

GCISC will also provide institutional support to Ev-K2-CNR for its activities in Pakistan and facilitate the contacts with Ministry of Climate Change and other local stakeholders, he added.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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