PM sets up task force on climate change amid heatwave, glacier melting

PM Shehbaz Sharif chairing a high-level emergency meeting on the recent heatwave. — AFP
PM Shehbaz Sharif chairing a high-level emergency meeting on the recent heatwave. — AFP

  • PM Sharif sets up task force on climate change.
  • Task force to find ways to reduce effects of climate change in country.
  • PM stresses reconstruction of bridge that collapsed during glacier melting.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday set up a task force on climate change in view of the country currently facing heatwave and melting of glaciers.

The task force included relevant federal ministers, secretaries, provincial chief secretaries, relevant provincial secretaries, the Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and senior officials of other agencies.

The task force will develop a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the effects of climate change in the country and prevent incidents, such as the glacier incident in Hunza.

Chairing a high-level emergency meeting on the recent heatwave and the effects of climate change, the prime minister directed to take measures to prevent food and water shortages, and to conserve water and forests.

The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Syed Khurshid Shah, Sherry Rehman, Ehsas-ur-Rehman Mazari, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Maryam Aurangzeb, Chairman NDMA Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz, and officials of relevant agencies. Participation through video link of Federal Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain and Provincial Secretaries.

PM Shehbaz ordered immediate steps in this regard and present a report in the next meeting.

The meeting was informed that climate change was the main reason for the intense heatwave and Pakistan was the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of climate change.

It was pointed out that Pakistan, despite having large reserves of glaciers, was also at risk of water scarcity which could have a direct impact on the country’s agriculture.

The prime minister issued directives to formulate a comprehensive strategy in this regard on an emergency basis and also stressed the launch of a public awareness campaign for water conservation.

He called for immediate measures to ensure store rainwater before the next monsoon.

The prime minister was also briefed on the water shortage in Cholistan, in response to which he ordered an immediate supply of water for human settlements and animals.

He also told the relevant authorities to ensure immediate relief activities during the recent heatwave in Cholistan by the district administration and relevant agencies.

PM Shehbaz directed the Chairman NDMA to visit Hunza immediately and also stressed the reconstruction of the bridge that collapsed during the glacier melting.

The prime minister sought a detailed report in the next meeting regarding the progress of the construction of the bridge and directed the Ministry of Education to implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the recent heatwave in government schools and to issue orders to private schools to implement them.

He directed the health ministry to immediately submit a detailed report on the research and possible effects of the new sub-variant of COVID-19.