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World Bank offers cooperation in dealing with climate change hazards

ISLAMABAD: A World Bank delegation led by Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan called on Adviser to PM on climate change Malik Amin Aslam Khan and discussed areas of mutual interest and cooperation in different plans to deal with climate change hazards.

The delegation included Operations Officer Amena Raja, Program Leader Lixin Gu, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist Kamran Akbar, and Disaster Risk Management Specialist Ahsan Tehsin.

The delegates said that quality of life in number of areas in South Asia including Pakistan is dropping due to harsh temperature and other climate changes, and World Bank is focusing to mitigate these growing environmental issues.

The advisor apprised that environment is the foremost priority agenda of the government and they are rigorously pursuing it since the day one.

“We have already initiated the ten billion tsunami tree plantation drive a month ago, and now we have launched a clean and green Pakistan initiative to bring behavioural changes among people in accordance with the vision of PM,” he said.

Unfortunately, the advisor said that Pakistan is amongst those top seven countries badly affected by climate changes, and the agriculture sector is facing the adverse effects as growing seasons have shifted.

‘Clean and Green Pakistan’

The adviser said that the clean and green Pakistan initiative focuses on five major areas which includes plantation, solid waste management, liquid waste management, availability of clean drinking water as 42pct of the people don’t have access to clean water, and hygiene.

The delegates informed that World Bank is running a green development program in collaboration with Punjab government to deal with the pollution issues. They expressed their willingness to cooperate with the climate change ministry to deal with solid waste management, agriculture and water-related issues.

The adviser said that water wastage is another enormous problem faced by Pakistan as they have no proper strategy to store flooded waters. However, he said that the government will chanelise flooded water and will aptly use wet lands for this purpose.

“Our biggest dilemma is that we do have water but not adequately stored or properly managed,” he said.

He further said that previous governments have paid no attention towards better hygiene and still 43pct population doesn’t have access to toilets and they have to create open defecation free environment by encouraging people to build toilets.

He said that glaciers in northern areas are melting and posing serious threats, therefore, the government will introduce an early warning system to avoid disasters.

“We are committed to provide clean and green Pakistan to our next generations as envisioned by the Prime Minister,” he said.

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