ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: The Islamabad-based think-tank Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan jointly organized an interactive online roundtable discussion on the topic of “Climate Change as a Non-traditional Security Challenge: Relevance for Pakistan” on 2nd June 2021.
The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to elaborate on climate change and its political, economic as well as social implications for Pakistan and South Asia. It also aimed to highlight the role of international institutions along with the potential of regional and global cooperation in this regard. The online discussion, arranged ahead of the World Environment Day 2021, featured eminent Pakistani experts from diverse fields related to climate change and environmental security who presented their views on topics ranging from adaptation and mitigation strategies to migration and climate diplomacy.
Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, stressed on the need of cohesive climate action. She said:
Climate change is the biggest threat to our survival no matter where we are and it should be considered a matter of human rights. […] As a Member of the Parliament [of Pakistan] it is my duty to come up with practical solutions to this problem.
She also appreciated the role of civil society and think tanks in providing research-based policy suggestion to the policy makers.
Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative of HSF Pakistan in his welcome remarks highlighted the non-traditional security challenges posed by the environmental crisis. He said:
Climate change leads to a degradation of ecosystems, impacts biodiversity, and causes desertification and flooding in Pakistan, which in turn can cause numerous serious problems, such as mass migration, starvation or poverty.
Dr. Shaheen Akhtar, Professor at the Department of International Relations, National Defence University, Islamabad said:
Pakistan is projected to experience a rise in temperature that is above the global average which will vastly undermine its water security, food security and energy security. […] We need to invest in resilient disaster management mechanisms including climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Dr. Kanwar Iqbal, Lead Researcher at the National Institute of Maritime Affairs, discussed the impact of climate change on the maritime security of Pakistan including marine biodiversity and the well-being of the coastal areas. He stressed:
The cascading effects of climate change are attributed through its convergent evidences and manifestations across all sectorial economies. […] Pakistan’s marine fisheries are at a high risk thus raising economic, food and social security concerns.
All online panelists agreed that climate change and global warming are significant non-traditional security challenges, especially for Pakistan, and urgent collaborative action at all levels is needed in this regard. The panel discussion was followed by an interactive question and answer session where numerous participants raised pertinent and critical questions related to the topic.
The online event was moderated by Mr. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, Member of the CGSS Board of Advisors, and was attended by more than 100 participants from Pakistan and Germany, including environment experts, professors and students from various universities, members of the civil society, high-level bureaucrats and development professionals.
The findings from the roundtable discussion will guide the two organizations to a follow-up conference in the near future, and the results of this collaboration shall be presented to a broader regional audience as well.
You may find event photos and more speaker quotes at twitter.com/HSF_Pakistan. For more information on CGSS please visit cgss.com.pk, and on HSF Pakistan pakistan.hss.de. Press contact: islamabad(at)hss.de.