Pakistan is moving climate change higher on the political agenda in the lead-up to the UN climate conference in Paris in December, reinstating its ministry for climate change after downgrading it to a mere division in 2013.
“It was a symbolic gesture” at the time, “sending the message that climate change was just not a priority area for them,” said UN Development Program Advisor Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, author of Pakistan’s climate policy.
Now, newly-appointed climate change minister Mushahid Ullah Khan states that “we lose billions of rupees each year to floods and other calamities due to our negligence and bad governance,” adding that. “if the ministry improves its performance, we’ll be able to get foreign climate financing easily for different sustainable projects.”
Pakistan finalized a national climate policy in 2012, but has engaged in “musical chairs” in assigning responsibility for addressing climate impacts like changing monsoon patterns, melting glaciers, seasonal flooding, rising sea levels, and desertification, Reuters reports. The country “has not even started thinking about what to include in the offer each country is expected to put forward in advance of the Paris climate talks.”