Revealing alarming facts during a briefing to the cabinet on the climate change, Minister Sherry Rehman has said that Pakistan is the eighth most-affected country by the climate change globally and likely to be water scarce by 2025. Besides, the country is also in the grip of food, climate, water, population and environmental crisis.
Terming the climate catastrophe in Pakistan a national security crisis, the minister said that the country had faced 152 extreme events in the last two decades with constant shifts in rainfall patterns, intensity and frequency.
“We are also home to the hottest cities in the world for three consecutive years with temperatures rising up to 53.7C, which is an unlivable situation,” said Sherry at a briefing to the cabinet.
She said it was having an impact on food security and up to 40 percent population of the country was food insecure. “We have lost 1.8 million acres of fertile land to sea intrusion due to rising sea levels and losing 27,000 acres of forest annually,” said the minister.
“This is unprecedented and we need to prioritise adaptation action beyond mitigation and work in these sectors will reduce our vulnerability to climate change,” said Sherry, adding that her ministry was working on an adaptation policy and plan.
The minister asserted that her ministry had set up priority actions in food security, pollution control, urban resilience and health sector because “we need climate resilient health systems to deal with a variety of health issues that come with climate alterations.”
“We are glad that the prime minister has announced the formation of an inter-ministerial committee on climate adaptation with participation of agriculture, food security, water and other ministries to sit together and devise an action plan,” she said.
The minister cautioned this is a decisive decade for the country because the threats projected for 2050 are happening now, adding that failure to act immediately would lead to devastation at an unprecedented scale.