ISLAMABAD - On this World Environment Day, experts at the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) emphasized the need to highlight the inextricable connection between climate change and poverty.

“Climate change disproportionately impacts the poor and vulnerable segments of the society,” Ms. Adnana Rao, Manager, Environment and Social Management at PPAF said. “Climate change not only jeopardizes the lives of the poverty-stricken segments in remote and underprivileged areas but also threatens their meager sources of sustenance. In addition, the poor are hardest hit by the long-term consequences like weather anomalies, food insecurity and water shortages.”

Pakistan is placed on the 8th spot of the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, released by global think-tank Germanwatch. The report indicates that Pakistan is one of the three countries perpetually ranked amongst the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  

“Climate change is a major challenge to sustainable development globally,” Ms. Adnana Rao said. “Although Pakistan makes minimal contribution to the global climate change, yet ranks amongst the top eight most vulnerable countries. The changing weather patterns, variability of monsoons, rising temperatures and receding glaciers constantly threaten livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor households across the country besides incurring substantial economic losses to the country.”

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), in support with Government of Pakistan works to remove socio-economic inequalities across marginalized regions. The organization seeks to help out socio-economically disenfranchised communities without harming the local environment and water sources. In order to achieve the balance, it has set a higher benchmark in environmental safeguards in infrastructure development and operations across its program areas.

“We need to minimize the environmental cost of development,” Zahid Hussain, General Manager, MER, Environment and Social Management at PPAF said. “PPAF is proud to be an ISO 14001:2015 certified organization for its strict environmental compliance regime that is guided by our Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF). We go the extra mile to get our interventions audited by third party to ensure complete transparency. PPAF is one of the few organizations in Pakistan that have developed and implemented an environmental framework as part of their sustainability program.”

As recognized under the ISO certification, PPAF has introduced successful community engagement models for sustainable and environmental friendly development in its program areas, spread from rural Sindh to remote regions in Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP). 

It has successfully implemented programs for reforestation, regenerative agriculture, water source preservation and clean energy. All these initiatives have been completed in participation with local people in order to foster awareness, resilience and preparedness against climate change at community levels.

We are glad that Pakistan is hosting this year’s World Environment Day, the experts said while they called for galvanizing individual as well as collective will to ramp up efforts for protecting the environment. “The government of Pakistan is undertaking sustained efforts to ensure environmental sustainability through remarkable initiatives like the billion tree campaign,” they said. “Our team at PPAF is committed to further the government’s vision for a healthier and greener Pakistan through our combined interventions for protecting vulnerable communities and their means of sustenance from the adverse impacts of climate change,” they added.