‘Rapid environmental changes posing serious challenges to national development’

PESHAWAR: Eco Summit 2019, an environment summit kicked off at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar on Wednesday.

The purpose of the conference is to bring academia industry and government at one platform for introducing innovative green technologies and finding indigenous solutions for the sustainable environment and counter the challenge of global warming/climate change.

The UET Peshawar Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Iftikhar, who was chief guest at the occasion, said climate change has emerged as a major challenge for the world and Pakistan is among the countries most affected. He said global warming is putting significant impact on people pattern of living and the ecosystems.

The vice-chancellor said the rapid environmental changes have also put serious challenges to the national development of Pakistan. He urged the need for combined efforts to raise the scale of awareness on the impacts of climate change. He said all the stakeholders including government, industry academia and civil society will have to play a role in this regard.

Saima Raheem, regional head of the National Bank of Pakistan (North), also spoke on the occasion and assured all support to the UET Peshawar for introducing environment-related initiatives.  Saima said the NBP also planted 200,000 plants under the ‘Clean and Green Pakistan drive’ to contribute its part in the campaign.

The summit is organised by the Office of Research Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC) UET, Peshawar, in collaboration with National Bank of Pakistan, British Council and other organisations.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2018 ranked Pakistan seventh on the list of 10 countries globally most affected by climate change. According to data compiled in 2016 by Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based risk management company, around 70 percent Pakistanis are acutely exposed to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and droughts.

Pakistan has also seems to be finally woken up to the challenge of climate change. The last PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa completed a Billion Tree Tsunami Project to counter the challenge of climate change. The project got worldwide appreciation and now after coming to power in the Centre, the PTI government has launched a 10 Billion Tree Tesnami project for the whole country.

A budget of Rs16.613 billion has also been approved for the Ministry of Climate Change for seven ongoing and new projects, including the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, in the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.