Shehbaz sets up task force on climate change amidst heatwave

Task force will develop a comprehensive strategy to mitigate effects of climate change

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday formed a task force on climate change amidst current heatwave and melting of glaciers.

The task force includes relevant federal ministers, secretaries, provincial chief secretaries and provincial secretaries, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman 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 the authorities concerned to take measures to prevent food and water shortage, and to conserve water and forests.

The meeting was attended by federal ministers Syed Khurshid Shah, Sherry Rehman, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Marriyum Aurangzeb, NDMA Chairman Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz and officials of relevant agencies. Federal Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain and provincial secretaries participated via video link.

Shehbaz Sharif directed to take 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 directed 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, to which he directed immediate supply of water for human settlements and animals.

He directed to ensure immediate relief activities in the recent heatwave in Cholistan by the district administration and relevant agencies.

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

He also sought a detailed report in the next meeting regarding the progress of the construction of the bridge.

The premier also directed the Ministry of Education to implement SOPs to prevent the recent heatwave in government schools and to issue orders to private schools to implement them.

He directed the Ministry of Health to immediately submit a detailed report on the research and possible effects of the new sub-variant of Covid-19.