Saturday, September 27, 2014

A letter to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: Restore Climate Change Ministry in Pakistan

Honorable Prime Minister,
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

 It was a matter of great encouragement that you, being the Prime Minister of Pakistan, addressed the UN General Assembly and emphasized that Climate Change has to be blamed for this on-going massive flooding in our country. You are also very right in saying that this is Climate Change which is damaging economies of world nations, including Pakistan. I, being a Climate Campaigner in Pakistan, expressed my sincere gratitude to you that you officially highlighted this most important issue of the 21st century at the most important international platform of the world we call the UN General Assembly.

However, Honorable PM, like many other national and international environmental advocates, we were deeply shocked with the fact that our Government demoted the Climate Change Ministry of Pakistan soon after you became the PM and took over the cabinet. It was also very disappointing that the Government reduced the annual budget of this new yet very important Ministry about 60%. Demoting the Ministry into Climate Change Division was widely seen by international community and environmental organizations working in Pakistan as one of the unwise decision by the Government.

Climate Change is affecting 6% of our GDP annually. We have witnessed historically massive flooding during 2010 which put one-fifth of the country land under water and affected more than 20 million people. We witnessed floods in a row- in 2011, 2012 and now in 2014. The aftermaths of these climate related tragedies were unbearable and hard to express. Climate Change is affecting our economy, damaging our infrastructure, destroying our houses and crops and putting our coastal areas like Karachi at high risk of sea level rise. On 26th May 2010, our Meteorological department noted highest temperature of 53.5oC in Pakistan which was a record temperature in any Asian country. Similarly, our weather patterns in the country are significantly changing due to Climate Change. Our winter seasons are getting shorter and severe and our summers are getting hotter. We are witnessing abnormal rains or less rains and our farmers are unable to cope with this new-normal.

Honorable PM, you would have experienced during your interaction with world leaders and other environmental stakeholders during this UN conference that how the world has started recognizing the reality of climate crisis as one of the most critical challenge for our survival. The former Vice President of the US, Mr. Al Gore has been advocating on Climate Crisis since years and I have personally saw him advocating for Pakistan being one of the most vulnerable country due to Climate Change. The US Government which never signed the Kyoto protocol has now proposed new limits through its Environment Protection Agency to control carbon pollution coming from fossil fuel consumptions which accounts for 40% of their total emission. Our neighbors India and China are demonstrating leadership through innovation in clean and renewable energies. Many under developed countries, including small islands have committed to go carbon neutral in order to advocate to the world how much fight against Climate Change is vital for their survival. In fact, the world is gearing up towards right path, especially in their journey to the Paris Conference in 2015 when we expect a binding agreement to replace Kyoto Protocol. In such positive context, it is very strange that our own Government demoted the Climate Change Ministry and stressed the Climate Change Division with significantly reduced annual budget.

Dear PM, we, as a voice of many concerned volunteers of this country demand this Government to restore Climate Change Ministry in Pakistan. We need this crucial platform due to fact that this potential Ministry can effectively coordinate among different ministries and departments at the Federal and Provincial level for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the country. The restoration of Ministry will be a great achievement and commitment of our Government in order to get well prepared for the Paris Conference. The Ministry will also help regain the confidence of international community who are morally bound to support Pakistan both technically and financially to adapt to Climate Crisis. The reason is obvious- we have been the victims of weather related disasters due to on-going global carbon pollution made by the developed, industrial countries.

Dear Mr. PM, let me also present you the different messages we have received from common citizens across the county who are demanding restoration of ClimateChange Ministry in Pakistan.

Kindly restore climate change ministry as it is crucial to avoid effects of climate change and existence of living beings.
Farah Khalid, Jhelum

An independent institution is highly needed in Pakistan to face environmental challenges, especially rapidly increasing pollution. Government should immediately restore Ministry of Climate Change.
Sonia Fatima, Islamabad

We have lots of natural resources (renewable and non-renewable) and we can get maximum output by using these resources in a meaningful way.
Wardah, Okara

Please restore the Climate Change Ministry.
Kaleemullah, Quetta

This is a social responsibility of our government for restore climate change ministry in Pakistan.
Sajida Farman, Karachi

PM has not only restore climate change ministry but also establish climate change institutions in Pakistan. The Government should safeguard the resources of the country for the ultimate benefits of its citizens.
Rab Nawaz, Peshawar

My poor fellows, every year we need to rebuild our mud houses right after July-August flooding. Can I request the Govt. of Pakistan that please don’t do this to my kids and their kids and their kids please.
M.Tariq, Swabi

Pakistan is a developing country and to cope with environment related problems we need an organization to deal with such issues.
Jawad Khan, Gujrat

Please restore this ministry for the sake of the Humanity.
Hassan Sohail, Lahore

We need this Ministry to keep a check on the environmental issues in the country. Increase in floods, droughts, diseases, food shortages are all related to it [climate change]. For the progressive future of Pakistan we need this ministry.
Farwa, Lahore

Save Pakistan.
Amra Javed, Karachi

Please give the issue its due importance and weightage.
Mosarat Nosheen, Taxila

If something about Climate Change is not done then our next generations will have to face the consequences, so restoration of climate change ministry is very important.
Tayyaba Khalil, Islamabad

Restoration of climate change ministry in Pakistan is the prime need of time. The deteriorating condition of environment in Pakistan will put our lives at stake. For the better living and protection of environment it is must to restore Climate change Ministry in Pakistan.
Kiran Mushtaq, Quetta

The Ministry needs to be restored because Pakistan is facing a lot of environmental Issues.
Muhammad Muneeb, Peshawar

Climate Change Ministry in Pakistan MUST BE RESTORED. It is need of the time.
Anum, Islamabad

Restore [Climate Change Ministry].
Maniza Mirza, Copenhagen

It's a must.
Raza, London

Kindly restore Climate Change Ministry. It is necessary.
Munir, Islamabad

To address climate change issues in Pakistan, a separate entity is required which can take mitigation measures on time.
Maryam Abassi, Taxila

Climate change is a fact and we need to combat its effects on populations of the world, all human and non-human populations as a matter of fact. For this purpose we need to work for the cause and effect relationships of this phenomenon. In order to combat we need teams of experts and scholars who are already working on this issue. We need policy makers and environmentalists who can help in maintaining economy and at the same time find solutions faced by Pakistan now and in near future. All this could be achieved under one umbrella and that is the Ministry.
Ali Raza, Lahore

Pakistan is at forefront among the countries most impacted by climate change. It is responsibility of our Government to restore the [Climate Change] ministry so that effective measures can be taken to tackle the climate change impacts.
Shazia Perveen, Hunza

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Republic of Pakistan, please restore Climate Change Ministry of Pakistan. Thank You.
[Someone], Karachi

Climate change is an internationally recognized phenomenon which will impact food security, environment and sustainability in addition to devastating the economy. It is imperative that the govt. make policy and prioritize this important subject by creating the Ministry of Climate Change. Not only this, but also emphasize on other ministries to address this complex issue.
Abdul Majid Qureshi, Rawalpindi

It is my appeal to the Government of Pakistan to restore the Ministry of climate change.
Adeela Waheed, Islamabad

Please Climate Change Ministry ko bahal kiya jay. [Please restore Climate Change Ministry]
[Someone] Narowal 

It [Climate Change Ministry] is about our future generations. Act on climate change.
Asghar Ahmad, Karachi

Best regards,

Asif Iqbal
Climate Reality Leader
Islamabad, Pakistan
Al Gore's Climate Change Leadership Programme

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