ACADEMIA, CIVIL SOCIETY MAY BRIDGE RESEARCH-POLICY GAP IN CLIMATE CHANGE

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ISLAMABAD, AUG 10 /DNA/ – The environmentalists from academia and civil society say they together can bridge research-policy gap in themes relating to climate change. They can offer evidence based policy solutions to goverements at local, provincial and national levels.They were speaking at webinar on ‘Role of academia in achieving the objectives of National Environmental Policy’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday.Senior academician Environmental Sciences, Dr M Irfan Khan, while presenting a detailed outlook existing policy framework of Pakistan pertaining environment and climate change, asserted to include these critical issues in curriculum from primary to university level.  He explained that the departments in our universities are dominated by chemistry and biology majors while we lack scientific research on climate change. He said we need to focus on better implementation of policies.  Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said that we are connected to various universities on issues around climate change policy and science and would be happy to work together to bridge gap in scientific research and policy on these issues. “Creating such collaboration is imperative as it could lead to an effective environmental policy to be implemented in provinces,” Dr Suleri said and added that the measure would resolve various implementation related issues at local level.  Dr Fatima Dar, Director CTELI IQRA University, emphasized that an intellectual cadre needs to be created, especially to raise awareness on environment and climate change related issues. She said that curriculum is a live document that should be open for incorporating updated knowledge.  Chairman, FBA IQRA University, Dr Zaki Rashidi, was of view that policy is just one component that serves as a starting point for developing a strategy.  Besides, there should be an execution plan, dedicated resources and engaging all stakeholders for the successful implementation.  Dr Shams Hamid, Dean, FADSS, asserted that the ethical aspect of the issue should also be focused. Besides, we need to take responsibility and explore local solutions of the issues having impacts at local level. The universities should come up with extra curriculum programs and take messages to common people.  Dr Shafqat Munir, Research Fellow SDPI, while referring to 2021 new IPCC report, said that the last five year were the hottest years in recent history which caused natural hazards such as floods and drought. The temperatures are rising due to climate change; and with it, the glaciers melting is resulting in rise in sea-level which is threatening for existence of many species and cities in the world.   “We will have to go further from just policy making to respond to emerging challenges posed by climate change, Dr Shafqat Munir said and emphasized that we should go towards ecosystem restoration as introduced by UN. Pakistan took a major step forward by introducing Billion Tree tsunami program and it will not only help Pakistan but will play role in ecosystem restoration in the world, he added.   Ms Maryam Shabir, (Environmentalist at SDPI and Mr Shahid M. Minhas, Head CLD, SDPI), also shared their views and highlighted various critical aspects of the topic.