Pakistan has been warned of its vulnerability to climate change and subsequent effects
Last week, a World Bank delegation led by the regional director for sustainable development for South Asia revealed that 7.6 million people in Pakistan will face food insecurity by 2030. This is not the first time Pakistan has been warned of its vulnerability to climate change and subsequent effects. Unfortunately, those at the helm still appear reluctant to acknowledge the glaring climate challenge and form a coherent strategy to limit these effects.
The floods in 2022 severely devastated parts of the country plunging them into the stone ages. Due to this, Pakistan will struggle to meet the UN Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. Most flood-affected regions were already lacking in infrastructure and faced deprivation. Now millions have been displaced and lost their means of income. In the coming years, shifts in weather patterns are expected to intensify, which will eventually cause mass migration and displacement, hunger, and disease. These issues will also contribute to gender-based violence, high levels of unemployment, and a potential health crisis. Women particularly will be faced with higher risks to their safety and well-being.
Most of the aforementioned issues can be avoided or significantly limited through a holistic and multi-faceted approach. What the country requires is willpower and commitment from the leadership to address the emerging climate challenges. The government needs to speed up its efforts to improve climate adaptation and resilience. It should work with provincial governments, local non-governmental and civic organisations as well as regional and international organisations to rebuild infrastructure and equip local populations with the means to withstand extreme weather events. Local communities in different regions should be included in recovery and development projects to empower them and achieve sustainable growth. Without comprehensive and targeted action, millions will struggle to survive, which will ultimately threaten the country’s survival as well.