European Union Delegation to Pakistan and WWF-Pakistan joined hands to promote action on climate change by celebrating Climate Change Diplomacy Week. The event on, 25 September, brought together people from all walks of life to become part of the exchanges taking place worldwide in exploring opportunities through the transition to low carbon economies while ensuring equitable access to sustainable development.
The event started with the participants pedalling their bicycles from the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on a designated route as a symbolic gesture to raise awareness to curtail the growth of greenhouse emissions by promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation. The cycle ride was followed by the screening of a thematic documentary, The Karakorum Anomaly, about the effects of climate change and its influence on the mountain regions of the country.
"For decades the European Union and its Members States have been on the forefront to fight Climate Change" said H.E. Jean-François Cautain, H.E. Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan. "We have committed our countries to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and I am very pleased to say that we are on the right track to achieve them." The Ambassador also explained the rationale behind today's initiative: "Pakistan is ranked as one of the most vulnerable countries as regard to consequences of Climate Change. This event is to contribute to raise awareness in Pakistan on the importance of tackling this issue today and not tomorrow. It is also an opportunity to create synergy between different actors, government representative, diplomats, civil society and media in an enjoyable and meaningful environment"
While, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, stressed the importance of promoting a common worldwide understanding of the need for action to mitigate climate change, “No matter how people perceive climate change, the phenomenon is real – we are experiencing an array of environmental shifts, such as infrequent weather events, untimely glacial melt, glacial lake outbursts floods (GLOFs) and changes in animal and bird migration patterns, highlighting irrefutable linkages to climate change taking place in full effect.” Hammad Naqi Khan showed optimism while referring to the momentous achievement of the world community in shaping a global agreement in Paris last year at the 21st Conference of the Parties held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) and called for a global alliance against the growth of greenhouse gases. “The objectives we achieved at COP21 were a result of our collective ambition towards a better future, and now it is imperative upon us to galvanise governments to start singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of the world to fight against climate change.”
H.E. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France and the Chargé d'Affaires of Morocco, Dr Mohamed Kalakhi, were invited on stage to recall last year's COP 21 milestone that represents the Paris Agreement in the fight against Climate Change and how Morocco is preparing to host the COP 22 conference, which will be held in November in Marrakesh.
Each year, in September, European embassies around the world celebrate the Climate Diplomacy Week, with events taking place to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond. Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge. These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement - the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris last December.
Although Pakistan’s global carbon emissions are very low compared to large emitters like China, Russia, India and the USA, globally but it is placed in the top ten countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change, with impacts such as floods, droughts, heatwaves and glacial lake outburst floods increasing yearly.
The Climate Diplomacy Day took place alongside the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the first since the adoption of the Paris agreement in December last year, convened under the theme ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world’, with particular focus on goal number 13 i.e. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.