ISLAMABAD-The experts at a seminar on Monday said the reduction in rising population in the world in general and Pakistan in particular would ensure cuts in carbon emissions which would be permanent and achieved through positive actions improving human lives.

The Sustainable Development of Policy Institute (SDPI) organised a seminar titled “Rapid Population Growth and Pakistan’s Vulnerability to Climate Change” to initiate a stakeholder dialogue to create informed discourse on the country’s increasing vulnerability due to climate change.

The session was moderated by Head of SDPI Sustainability and Resilience Programme Dr Shafqat Munir.

During the panel discussion, Former Federal Minister, Population Planning and President Emeritus FPAP, Dr Attiya Inayatullah said the German Watch Report of 2020 ranked Pakistan as the fifth most vulnerable country due to climate change which was also the fifth largest country in terms of population. She suggested that a policy framework was required to recognise multiple factors contributing to climate change in Pakistan, adding, “We need to tackle climate change  issues in a holistic and inter-sectoral manner.”

Dr Attiya said it was a priority of every discourse that linked climate change with population and no rocket science was needed to understand this population-climate link. The recent unprecedented torrential floods had proved it, she added, She mentioned that with a decline in population, there would be reduction in carbon emissions which would be permanent and to be achieved through positive actions improving human lives.

“Water resource management should be the priority of the country and it has the instruments like the Council of Common Interest (CCI) to achieve these goals.”

She warned that due to environmental risks migration to urban slums was much higher than those made through proper planning or intention.

She proposed that the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) should take lead through CCI to establish a robust inter-provincial coordination and lead role in coordination for managing climate crisis that was missing at the moment.

Country Director, Pakistan Population Council Zeba Sathar was of the view that the underline vulnerabilities due to environmental degradation were also contributing to regional politics. Moreover, poverty, climate change and poor governance was collectively causing compounding effect in enhancing global warming and natural calamities. Social Policy Advisor Ministry of Planning and Development Nadeem Ahmed said climate change was part of planning discourse where climate resilient infrastructure was being focussed as the future need. The government, he said was giving priority to ecosystem restoration and it was a high debate at the level of the Planning Ministry.

Environmental Journalist, Zofeen Ebraheem said Pakistan was in trouble due to huge floods because of bulging size of its population where the government was unable to handle it due to paucity of resources and capacity. The Stanford University made an estimation that the world would have two billion more humans added to its current population on this November 15 leading the world to become home of eight billion masses.

“More than 65 percent  of future diseases will be zoonotic in nature due to alarming damage being done to nature by adverse anthropogenic activities.” 

The population boom was shrinking water availability that was concerning and demanded urgent attention of the stakeholders at all levels, she added.