he news on Sunday (TNS): The destruction caused by the recent floods is said to have exceeded in the scale and magnitude of this caused floods in 2010. We are watching natural disasters of such a value in greater frequency. How do you read the situation? aftermath of recent floods following unprecedented rains this yearscale of devastation left many are interested in the level of disaster preparedness and prioritization of questions like changing of the climate. News on Sunday talking to Ali Taukir Sheikh, main author of Updated Nationally Determined Contribution of Pakistan Submitted to Climate Change Secretariat of United Nations last year. sheikh served on several national commissions and international committees, including the Advisory Group on Learning and Assessment and Transformational Change and Learning Partnership (TCLP), both set-up Climate Investment Fund (CIF), on on behalf of of World Bank and other multilateral development banks. The excerpt follows:
News on Sunday (TNS): The destruction caused by the recent floods is said to have exceeded in the scale and magnitude of this caused floods in 2010. We are watching natural disasters of such a value in greater frequency. How do you read the situation?
Ali Taukir Sheikh (ATS): Differences between 2010 and 2022 floods need be understood. The floods of 2010 were river floods; we knew their size, distribution and range. The rivers overflowed their banks, and there were breaches. made what caused floods. Besides, we’ve had enough warning time to respond to an emergency like water in rivers flow with a speed what can be calculated.
current floods, on on the other hand, not river. They were caused torrential rains. This time the monsoon rains took a southerly route and penetrated into Sindh and Balochistan. directly from Rajasthan. usually monsoon system enters Pakistan from Kashmir and loses intensity by the time it reaches Balochistan and Sindh. There was six this time to seven rainy seasons, while in in past existed one or two spells. flash floods in Suleiman Range wreaks havoc in southern Punjab. Also, it was cloudy. in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. city flood in big cities like Karachi aggravated problem. I would say that the floods of 2010 were the first issue whereas current floods are mainly the result of of changing of the climate.
TNS: in aftermath of natural disasters and disasters are always talked about of lessons. We learned something over in past two decades?
ATS: Unfortunately we haven’t learned much. over time. Vulnerability to climate change is always local. We must find local solutions through local government and local governments. When there are no local governments, it becomes difficult to govern. We have not strengthened local institutions, despite their importance. Secondly, we have not learned to respect the right of water of way. Building construction in in way of rivers common. this is a violation of environment laws. If we look at the cities, we find that the built to carry storm water disappeared. It’s a pity that the abuse on these channels have affected their functionality.
TNS: What do you attribute the absence to? of sufficient action to break this cycle of Natural disasters?
ATS: Absence of local authorities one of main causes of natural disasters hard process and keep repeating. In this situation, one miracles with who lies the property: it is the inhabitants or the land mafia and interest groups who have control over shamlaatz as well as river nulls? AT view of in current situation, I would say government should put the local authorities in place before next monsoon.
In addition, there is ambiguity and lack of of clarity in local environmental laws that need to be removed. For example, this is not clear who Can allow exceptions to environmental law? There is such a law should cannot be built within 120 feet of bodies of water, but this is widely violated. We’ll have to learn to respect the laws of in nature and stay out of their way.
in current scenario, simple solutions like there will be no dams work. We will have to rethink specifications for construction of houses, roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure.
TNS: How common person contributes in threat mitigation of changing of the climate?
ATS: Negative impact on the environment of common man basically caused on government action or inaction. government allows things happen and that on steering wheel. I will try to explain it with Examples. If the state does not provide environment-friendly public transport, common man must rely on vehicles that burn fossil fuels. Choice of using fossil fuel or charging vehicles at charging stations also depends on on government steps in this context. Another example is theft of firewood forest mafia, and sometimes the poor. people, who otherwise law-abiding. When there is no security of safe energy for cooking or heating, people will have no choice but to go for these options.
In this context, raising awareness of extreme importance. In coastal areas of Bangladesh they raised the levels of schools a few feet to save buildings from flood water. They are used as community centers in time of need. it fact what flood the victims end up returning to their homes after the floods over. We see peasants camping on Indian Highway after every major flood. Obviously they are not wish get very far away from homes and earth. So why can’t we equip special campsites near the villages?
TNS: We often talk about policy level initiatives and their sustainability through successive governments. How is Pakistan on that front?
ATS: AT policy level there are many shortcomings. Climate change is not built in in PC-1 and policy drawing up and budget documentation. Hardly any mention of changing of the climate in special support packages announced consistent prime ministers and chief ministers for various cities and regions like Balochistan, southern Punjab and Sindh.
I read the manifestos of political parties and found mention of utilities are also ecology is missing. Unfortunately, climate change is not taken into account and we do not have national adaptation plan or provincial action plans. Unfortunately, a provincial climate change agenda and policy does not exist even a decade after 18th Amendment.
TNS: What kind of solutions that can help country on policy level?
ATS: There is no magic wand and nothing can happen overnight. Most solutions are long term but we can start early to get results early. In brief termmeasures like forbidding reconstruction of everything that falls in in way of floods can be accepted. Cash grants for reconstruction should to be on build back only on the best basis (BBB). District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) need be notified. In addition, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) can provide loans. for reconstruction of climate smart homes and solar energy on roofs for people who move from flood zones to safer areas. Creation of strong and effective local self-government is perhaps the most important measure that can way in improvement of the situation.
The interviewer is a staff correspondent. He can be contacted at [email protected]