Press Release

Pakistan among the most vulnerable countries facing climate risks
Asia-Pacific can no longer afford to grow first and clean up later, says UNDP Human Development Report

 Islamabad, Pakistan, 16 May 2012- Countries in Asia and the Pacific are at a crossroads and must now strike a balance between rising prosperity and rising emissions. Their success or failure will have repercussions worldwide, predicts Asia-Pacific Human Development Report launched here today.

The Asia-Pacific region must continue to grow economically to lift millions out of poverty, but it must also respond to climate change to survive. Growing first and cleaning up later is no longer an option, advises, the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012 – One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate. The publication is aimed at reinvigorating climate change dialogue by bringing people’s concerns to the fore in the lead-up to the Rio +20 conference.

What happens in this region – which is home to more than half the world’s population and half of the planet’s megacities - can make a global difference. The report says that “countries of the developing Asia-Pacific are much less locked into the old, carbon-intensive ways of production and consumption. Asia-Pacific not only has the imperative, it also has the opportunity to manage development differently.”

The report argues that in the face of climate change, countries in Asia and the Pacific “will need to change the way they manufacture goods, raise crops and livestock, and generate energy.” This will mean “moving to greener, more resilient, lower-emission options that not only sustain the environment but also offer opportunities to the poor for employment and income.”

The ceremony was chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Mr. Muhammad Javed Malik. Addressing the ceremony he reiterated that the recommendations of these strategic documents and report must be translated into concrete actions and must form an integral part of the human development agenda in Pakistan.

While presenting the findings of the report, Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director, UNDP said that “Asia-Pacific region including Pakistan needs to walk the tightrope between the pursuit of economic growth and vulnerability to climate change. We witness increasing frequency and impacts of climate related disasters. Disaster risk reduction is a must for any sustainable development strategy to be successful.”

At the launch, a presentation on Pakistan’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was also shared. The NSDS will be presented at Rio +20. The NSDS envisions to evolve a just and harmonious society in Pakistan through the promotion of sustainable and inclusive growth without over exploitation of the country’s natural resources. The NSDS focuses on integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions into the current development model with a view to make it more sustainable and equitable.

In his remarks,  Mr. Timo Pakala, UN Resident Coordinator Congratulated Pakistan for preparing the NSDS and the National Climate Change Policy. These two documents and testimonials to the commitment of Federal and Provincial governments to promote sustainable growth and address the effect of climate change in Pakistan.

Also presented at the launch was the much awaited National Climate Change Policy which was recently approved by the Federal Cabinet. The policy provides a framework to address the issues Pakistan faces vis a vis the phenomenon of climate change and suggests ways and means to adapt to and mitigate the ravages posed by climate change.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from government, national and international development partners, civil society organizations, academia and media.