[PAKISTAN, Islamabad] – December 16, 2013 – The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and the Climate Action Network of South Asia (CANSA), Oxfam, along with Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development , will gather together more than 60 policymakers and experts in Islamabad, Pakistan, to design strategies for greater collaboration on climate change policies.
The three-day conference, which begins today (December 16), is titled “South Asian Parliamentarians and Policymakers at work: Putting Climate Adaptation, Food Security, Population Dynamics back in the Agenda.”
“National security needs to be redefined to include important human and civilian components. Leading amongst them being climate change,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain, Coordinator of Asia Parliamentary Assembly, and Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, Pakistan. He stressed the need to demand immediate revival of a separate ministry for climate change in Pakistan and also to establish a regional ministry or forum on climate change that would facilitate easier collaboration in South Asia. Thus, allowing South Asian nations could seek a common vision to a common problem.
The three-day conference, which begins today (December 16), is titled “South Asian Parliamentarians and Policymakers’ at work: Putting Climate Adaptation, Food Security, Population, and Dynamics back in the Agenda.” The conference is held at a beneficial time following the Warsaw climate change talks last month which, despite a compromise deal, failed to meet the ambition of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries and major emitters, and failed to show a roadmap to mobilise $100 billion by 2020, said Sanjay Vashist, Director of CANSA (Climate Action Network South Asia).
The conference puts a premium on regional coordination designed to enhance South Asia’s response to climate change due to growing concerns of increased vulnerability. “For the past few years of slow progress in climate change negotiations that yielded little positive outcome, South Asia has witnessed a lot of natural disasters and losses that were partly caused by human-induced climatic changes. New issues such as population displacement and urbanisation are emerging throughout the region. Meanwhile, the exacerbation of issues linked to agriculture and food security require greater attention. Thus, regional coordination and commitment has never been more important,” Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director of SDPI said.
The emphasis on regional coordination is also a nod to the fact that transnational problems such as climate change require transnational solutions. Such solutions invariably require a great deal of regional cooperation to develop the best solutions. “While each country in the region has been developing policies and programmes on climate change, the closely-linked economic, political, and social ties among them make it impossible for each government to implement any measures alone if sustainability is the common goal”, said Ziaul Hoque Mukta, Regional Policy Coordinator of Oxfam Asia.
During the conference, participants will discuss inter-alia, adaptation strategies, climate policies, food and water security, sustainable agriculture and displacement to form the core of regional climate policies. Throughout the discussions, the close coordination with national and local policymakers is vital. Anna Wrochna, Oxfam’s South Asia GROW Campaign Coordinator, said parliamentarians also need to be informed about the new challenges like growing climate impacts on the most affected sectors and population, so that appropriate responses can be framed and implemented.
The conference will conclude with the participants working together to identify possible issues and working on effective strategies to enhance collaboration amongst policy makers and academic experts and civil society organisations across South Asia.
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