Public Talk on “Climate Change and International Security” (Press Release)

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The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad organized a Public Talk today on “Climate Change and International Security” at its premises, on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 1500 hours. The event was addressed H.E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, H.E Mr. Philippe Lacoste Deputy Special Representative for the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), Honorable Mr. Arif Ahmad Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change and H.E. Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of the French Republic in Islamabad.

Welcoming the guest speaker, the Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Masood Khan said that from November 30 to December 11, 2015, France will be host for the annual United Nations 21st climate change Conference of the Parties (COP21) under the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). The main objective of the COP21 will be to review the implementation of the ‘Rio Convention’ that was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 as the international response to climate change. The convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

The Director General also mentioned that as a country vulnerable to climate change, Pakistan has recently suffered from major earthquakes, floods and drought. Pakistan along with the developing countries, will work towards transition to a low carbon economy and climate resilient society.

H.E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs joined as chief guest at the seminar.In his key note address he mentioned that the devastation caused by the massive floods in 2010 and 2011 and a recent drought in Sindh is just because of the erratic behaviour on the climatic system. Considering the long term impact the glacial melt is also under consideration. The glacial melt has the potential to negatively impact availability of water. He mentioned the fact that the average temperature rise in Pakistan is also expected to be higher than the global average. He quoted a fact that stemming the tide of climate change is a collective undertaking that requires a global response. He advocated that the new agreement should be premised on the principles of United Nations framework convention. Speaking about the stance of government of Pakistan He said that we are fully committed to preventing any negative fallouts of climate change on our socio-economic well being. The vision “2025” of the government clearly recognizes global warming and climate change.

H.E Mr. Philippe Lacoste Deputy Special Representative for the Paris Climate Conference, based on his extensive research, quoted factors that are contributing towards the adverse aspect of climate change. This includes droughts, temperature increase, extreme weather, sea level rise and costal degradations and finally the glacial melt. Mentioning the consequences of the climate change he said that defence forces must be ready for humanitarian relief. Defence forces should also build disaster relief structures. Security forces also need to improve the conditions of harbours. An intergrated approach to COP21 is needed to achieve the agenda of adaptation and mitigation strategies. He also quoted a fact that Paris conference is not only about climate change but a step towards a better and a safe world.

Mr. Arif Ahmad Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, gave a historic account of climate change. He stressed upon a fact that a cultural revolution is required to shift from fossil fuel and to use renewable energy resources. He also quoted the fact that we need quick implantation up to date technology and capacity building.

H.E. Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of the French Republic, mentioned that in just a month time France will host the 21st United Nations climate conference. The aim is to reach a universal agreement that will limit the rise in the average global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, compared to the pre-industrial period, by the end of the century. There is real hope for success, but it is also an enormous task. As the host of conference, France’s role is to facilitate an ambitious compromise between 195 states.

The conference was concluded by Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, he quoted that the threat of climate change is escalating in an entire new way and climate refugees is a new addition to this. The world on the whole should take steps to minimize the risks of climate change.

Asad Ullah K/02112015