ISLAMABAD (Khyber Mail): Amidst the prevailing climate crisis, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the importance of peaceful coexistence for enhanced regional cooperation. He made these remarks at the concluding ceremony of the Regional Dialogue 2024 titled “Climate Crisis: Shaping South Asia’s Resilience” organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Jilani asserted that peaceful existence could be achieved if statesmen made bold and courageous decisions. He also stressed the need to explore potential avenues of cooperation on climate change.

The three-day event, inaugurated by Dr. Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, brought together academics, practitioners, and policymakers from within Pakistan and across the region. The conference focused on six main themes: South Asia’s Climate Vulnerability, The Commitment to Regional NDCs, Climate- Conflict Nexus, Adapting to Climate Calamity, Climate Financing, and South Asia’s Climate Future.

Mr. Ahmed Kamal, Chairman, of the Federal Flood Commission, highlighted that South Asia continues to remain vulnerable to climate hazards, particularly floods, cyclones, and droughts. He attributed this high degree of vulnerability and exposure to the region’s high population growth rate and limited adaptive capacity. Kamal suggested that Integrated Drought Management should include the promotion of drought-tolerant crops, extended research on weather patterns, regular drought monitoring at the regional level, emphasis on groundwater recharge, and the implementation of an Adaptation Plan.

Mr. Abdul Basit, Head of South Asia Desk at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism (ICPVTR), Singapore, argued that climate change was a development issue and that securitizing it could prove to be disastrous. He urged security policymakers and practitioners to acknowledge the connection between climate change and terrorism.

Dr. Mazhar Hayat, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change, stressed the need to set sectoral-based baselines to promote mitigation and then adaptation.

The conference also included speakers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, the US, and Singapore who discussed various aspects of climate change in South Asia.

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