Ambassador Shahid Kamal
There is growing recognition that no nation will be immune to the impacts of the changing climate system. The case for Pakistan is compelling as Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change. The need for building climate resilience is critical for promoting economic growth and development of the country.
Shifting rain patterns, floods, melting of glaciers, rise in sea level and droughts are reflective of the challenges Pakistan is facing as a result of climate change. The impacts of climate change of climate change require monitoring and assessment of climate variability and measures to address challenges of adaptation and mitigation. Work on climate vulnerability, adaptation and disaster risk management has become equally important
Last year the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) decided to set up a Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD). The establishment of the Centre is recognition of the importance COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) has attached to studying climate change impact, vulnerability and adaptation and to developing Pakistan’s research and educational capacity in this field.
CCRD will work in a trans-disciplinary manner, building on the knowledge and skills of CIIT’s allied departments with research institutions, universities and Government bodies at the national level. CCRD shall harness the talents of faculty and experts to be productively employed in enhancing national capacity in climate change research and management.
CCRD will study extreme weather conditions and associated environmental challenges by improving capabilities for scientific research, assess climatic conditions and climate variability in the region, conduct research on the consequences of climate change, and provide support to institutions in Pakistan for designing policies and programs in the framework of the national Climate Change policy.
The first event from the platform of the Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD) was the holding of an international conference on “Asian Monsoon and Climate Change” on 20-21 January 2014 at Serena Hotel, Islamabad. This conference was organized in association with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) of Germany and International Centre for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of China.
The monsoon is a critical factor in the climate system of our region and monsoon precipitation is of vital importance for the livelihoods of millions of people. Economic development is therefore greatly dependent on the seasonal monsoon rainfall.
This conference provided a platform for presentations, scientific discussions and knowledge sharing on the variability of the monsoon and its relationship with the changing climate system. An impressive range of presentations were made by 16 international and 18 national experts covering a broad spectrum of the Asian monsoon system, its characteristics, impacts of climate change and associated economic and social effects for the region..
CCRD has a five-year cooperation agreement with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) of Germany, which has given the nascent Centre a privileged position to work with one of the top climate institutions in the world. Similarly, CCRD’s cooperative links with the International Centre for Climate & Environment Sciences (ICCES) and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) of China are important. These renowned institutions will work with CCRD to promote cooperative research and academic activities.
The future of CCRD as a vibrant research entity is exciting. It is envisioned that CCRD will emerge as a Centre of Excellence in climate research, with a broad mix of indigenous knowledge, skills, and scientific talent geared towards responding to the challenges facing Pakistan over the coming decades from global climate change.
Ambassador Kamal is a former diplomat who has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Prime Minister’s Office, United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Diplomatic Missions in Paris, New York, Washington, Stockholm and Berlin. Before launching Centre for climate Research & Development at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology he was working for the Islamic development Bank as Advisor to the OIC committee for the Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH).