Efficient and empowered local govt system critical to tackle climate change

June 20, 2018 Environment , News , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER , Pakistan

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By

Muhammad Shoaib Khan

 

 

Climate change is a real existential threat to societies, economies and ecosystems at all levels. The dire consequences of climatic change have already been felt in the form of heatwaves, devastating floods, water scarcity, droughts, etc. All this is happening around us and one can witness the negative implications at local level. Therefore, an effective, efficient and empowered local government system is critical to tackle the challenges of climate change.

 

This was the crux of experts’ discussion during the seminar titled ‘The Role of Local Governments in Tackling Climate Change Challenges’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) to mark World Environment Day earlier this month.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Romina Khurshid Alam, former Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change said that “climate change is the area where we all should play our due role religiously to protect our environment.” She said that “small steps and measures at local level can bring bigger change at a national level.” “We should capitalize on local indigenous solutions which could prove instrumental in tackling climate change,” she added. Romina said it is “about time to bring the environment into the main political discourse and all political parties must urge to include climate change as an issue into forthcoming election campaigns and in respective party’s manifestos.”

 

Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja, Senior Advisor Chemicals & Sustainable Industrial Development, SDPI, on the occasion said that “solid waste, especially plastic waste is one of many pressing environmental challenges, which is severe in large metropolitans.” He said “ten percent of deaths are caused by contaminated waste sites in low and middle income countries. Following the philosophy of think globally and act locally, strengthening local government coupled with effective stakeholder participation is fundamental to deal with environmental challenges such as beating the plastic pollution,” he added. Dr Khwaja suggested the establishment of Stakeholders Advisory Committees (SACs) at union council level with the mandate of assessment and awareness rising to address the challenges associated with environment at local level. He further recommended the industry to adapt Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) with a three prong approach, waste reduction at source, reuse and recycling, for solid waste management.

 

Later, Irfan Tariq, DG Environment, Ministry of Climate Change on the occasion said that “environmental challenges and its associated threats to lives and livelihood has now gained much attention of policy makers than ever before.” He said “after the 18th constitutional amendment, most of the responsibilities and powers are devolved to the provinces and then local governments,” and that “the local government should be empowered enough to take small steps, which can be managed and subsequently scaled up, to cope with challenges of environment.”

 

Syed Zeeshan Ali Naqvi, Deputy Mayor, Islamabad said that “despite facing funding constraints the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad initiated several environmental protection awareness raising campaigns and tree plantation drives.”

 

 

 

 

Muhammad Shoaib Khan

Muhammad Shoaib Khan

Muhammad Shoaib Khan is a journalist from Pakistan and has worked with NEO TV, Independent News, PBCand The Nation.

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