New York, 23 September 2021 (TDI): Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi virtually attended an event “How changing water availability from ice & snow will impact our societies”.
The event was hosted by Tajikistan and co-hosted by Pakistan on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly session. Foreign minister Shah Mahmood’s speech during the event is immensely significant as he elaborated on the vulnerabilities of climate change and its impact especially on the water resources.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood’s speech includes following points:
– Glaciers, ice and snow hold 70 per cent of the earth’s resources
– Water is essential for life, agriculture and development
– These resources have been melting since 1960s. Rates at which they are melting has exacerbated in the last decade. This is unprecedented in two thousand years of recorded history
– Melting of glaciers results in rising sea levels.
– Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that glaciers are declining simultaneously.
– German Watch Climate Change Risk Index 2021 places Pakistan as 8th most vulnerable country to climate change from 2000 to 2019.
– Pakistan’s glaciers are spread over an area of 16933 Km, it has 108 peaks over 6000 meters and several other about 5000 and 4000 meters.
– Melting glaciers also have created glacial lakes in northern Pakistan.
– Glaciers are reservoirs of fresh water which fill Pakistan’s rivers and hence are immensely critical.
– Pakistan continues to face water scarcity due to low riparian country.
– Glacial melting has affected agriculture, drinking water supply, hydroelectric power generation, and natural habitats and ecosystems in Pakistan.
Moreover, Shah stated that Government has implemented GLOF Risk Reduction in northern Pakistan to tackle disasters instigated by climate change. The pledge of $100 dollars in climate finance annually by developed countries is vital for climate change adaptation, mitigation and for success of Cop26.
Pakistan supports the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in his General Assembly speech. Pakistan also supports Tajikistan to declare 2025 as year of glaciers as means to raise awareness against threat of melting glaciers.