Press Release – International Conference “Regional Cooperation on Climate Change in South Asia”

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Press Release
International Conference
 “Regional Cooperation on Climate Change in South Asia”
November 22, 2022

The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) organised a Seminar titled, “Regional Cooperation on Climate Change in South Asia” on November 22, 2022. Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, Chairperson BoG, SDPI, was the Keynote Speaker for the event and other discussants included: Dr. Philipp Johannes Zehmisch, South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg; Dr. Shailly Kedia, Associate Director, TERI, Delhi, India; Dr. Imran Khalid, Director, Governance and Policy, WWF; Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Advisor, Ministry of Planning Pakistan; Ms. Aisha Khan, Executive Director for Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change; Ms. Anam Rathor, Technical Advisor Climate Finance, GIZ; Dr. Rezaur Rahman, Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET; and Dr. Steffen Kudella, Country Director, HSF, Pakistan.

In her introductory remarks Dr. Neelum Nigar, Director, CSP, welcomed the guests and outlined the aim and structure of the conference.

While in his welcome remarks Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI, said that COP 27 has produced a reasonable outcome in terms of damage assessment but needs lot of work. South Asian countries need to work together to face Non-traditional challenges and come up with suitable mitigating strategies.

Similarly, Dr. Kudella, in his remarks said that recent floods in the region have highlighted the importance of work on Non-traditional challenges in the South Asian region.

The Keynote Speaker, Ambassador Kakakhel in his address said that South Asian region is vulnerable to Climate change and UN IPCC reports have identified these challenges. The region is frequented by climate induced calamities still different agreements under the SAARC on Climate have not been implemented due to lack of political will.

In the first session on climate diplomacy, Dr. Philipp Johannes Zehmisch said that lack of funds was impacting Pakistan’s Climate change performance. Climate change is an all-encompassing area from disaster relief to mitigation. It is important for the countries in the region to work on green energy initiatives. The second speaker, Dr. Shailly Kedia said that decoupling of political differences important to tackle Climate change issue in the region. Climate diplomacy needs to be driven by science and its paradigm needs to shift from countries to people. The third speaker of the session. Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that there are different methods of tackling the issue of Climate diplomacy. The leadership in South Asia had the vision to put programs together to deal with climate issues but implementation has not been possible due to lack of adequate resources. Climate diplomacy can help in implementation of action plans developed through negotiations between the various stakeholders.

The second session focused on climate financing and the speaker Ms. Aisha Khan said that loss and damage fund put forward at COP 27 is very vague. External finance is the only requisite to deal with Climate change and address adaptation and mitigation issues. Principle of equity should be respected when countries talk about climate finance. The second speaker, Ms Anam Rathor said that limited climate spending is hindering the fight against climate induced damages in Pakistan. The main issue for developing countries like Pakistan is how to get access to international climate fund and get adequate support from it.

The third session focused on a transition towards a greener economy, and the first speaker Dr. Imran Khalid said that negotiations at COP 27 have allowed the Global North to continue its emissions without much consequence. There is inequity and inequality built into the system need to be addressed to deal with issues of Climate change at the global stage. The second speaker Dr. Rezaur Rahman said that the South Asian region is suffering from many crises, but every crisis can become into an opportunity if there is a reset to traditional development models. Cooperation between regional countries on new innovations like green technology is necessary to address climate issues.

Ambassador Khalid Mahmood Chairman BoG, ISSI, in his concluding remarks said that sustainable development for economic growth should keep focus on environmental protection in South Asia. Climate change issues are becoming security threats and need to be addressed accordingly.