Wednesday March 13, 2024

Natural disasters have engulfed most vulnerable communities around the world and facing worst of these natural disasters are coastal communities who are at risk at all times with an increase in the effects of climate change. Situation in Pakistan is even worse, especially for the coastal communities of Sindh. It is extremely important to act quickly and tackle the impacts of climate change for these communities.

Islamic Relief has been an active responder to the needs of people facing the results of climate change especially coastal communities in Sindh by partnering up with government and international institutions. An event ‘Coastal Resilience: A Case for Climate Financing’, was held here on Wednesday to initiate a dialogue on importance of climate financing for the vulnerable coastal communities and how stakeholders can advocate for global support.

Country Director Islamic Relief Pakistan, Asif Sherazi, CEO National Disaster and Risk Management Fund (NDRMF), James Robert Head of Food and Agriculture Organization in Sindh, PDMA, SEPA, and Forestry along with other notables attended the event. Chairman Board of Directors Islamic Relief Pakistan Mr. Nasir Awan was the guest of honor while Mr. Kabool Muhammad Khatian, Chairman – Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority graced the event as the Chief Guest.

In addition to that, representatives of national and international organizations, media, academia, think tanks and development practitioners in a large number were present.

Country Director Islamic Relief, Asif Sherazi in his opening remarks welcomed the guests and shed light on the immediate need for climate financing in Pakistan. He said that

“it would take half a century for Pakistan to tackle the impacts of climate if not acted upon soon, climate financing should become a priority, and this is a defining moment for us to come together and tackle these challenges”.

Associate Prof. Mr. Ameer Abro while presenting his research study on Coastal Communities: An Evidence for Climate Action shared the results stating that,

“Coastal communities and fishermen are directly impacted by climate change, leading to unpredictable weather patterns, increased sea levels, and extreme events like cyclones. These changes can result in the loss of fishing equipment, damage to boats, and disruptions in the availability and migration patterns of fish, affecting the income of fishermen”.

The event included an articulate panel discussion about climate challenges and unfolding poly crisis. The panel comprised of seasoned and diverse representatives from international humanitarian organizations, civil society, thought leaders and experts on climate change.

Moderated by Ms. Sidra Iqbal, the panelists engaged in an in-depth discussion on challenges and sustainable solutions.

Director Operations PDMA Sindh, Mr. Imdad Hussain during the panel discussion shared his thoughts on how we can use new methods to tackle disasters.

“The discussion we need is to work on DRR initiatives and by working together on early warning systems we can tackle disasters like floods and other climate issues in time”, shared Hussain.

Stressing upon the need to coordinate and cooperate, Chairperson, Hisaar Foundation, Dr. Seemi Kamal said,

“We have to change the narrative to get the desired results. The damage is already done and this century is about putting efforts into reducing the effects of these damages by working together.”

Member (Development) Planning & Development Board, Government of Sindh Mr. Saleem Jalbani appreciated the efforts of Islamic Relief done for the coastal communities. He empahiszed on having relevant projects and shared

“Initiating programmes for coastal resilience will definitely help us tackle the challenges that we face due to climate change and support the communities suffering from these issues”.

Prof. Mr. Ismail Kumbhar highlighted the need to advocate for the issues of coastal communities of Pakistan shared his views.

“We should develop collaborative approach between stakeholders, government and international organizations, conduct research on rising sea levels, changing weather and climate disasters so we can help the communities in need”.

Senior Programme Manager and Head of Sindh Province, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Mr. James Robert OKATH raised the challenge of lack in resources, According to him,

“Needs on the ground are dynamic and to reverse the effects of climate we need to work keeping in mind the needs of communities suffering from these issues. We have quite substantial resources and we all equally have the responsibility to help reduce these impacts”.

Chief Guest for the event, Chairman – Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA), Mr. Kabool Muhammad Khatian, emphasized on the need of individual actions.

He added thatplanting trees sounds like a basic thing however this little action has a huge impact as we collectively battle the changing climate”.

CEO NDRMF, Bilal Anwar in his keynote address thanked Islamic Relief Pakistan for providing this platform for raising the issue of coastal disasters that are affecting the communities and putting up a case for climate financing in Sindh.

We need to take the community on board during the program design phase. We are doing our best to safeguard the livelihoods of coastline communities but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

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