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Event Title: Senator Seemee Ezdi, Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2024-01-10

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change presided by Senator Seemee Ezdi was held today at Parliament House. The meeting commenced with Chairperson Senator Seemee Ezdi emphasizing the challenges posed by fog in urban areas. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination provided the committee members with a comprehensive briefing on various aspects of fog, including its formation, types, frequency in winter, and the related issue of smog: covering its types, causes, and impact. Senator Farooq Hamid Naek emphasized that fog is a natural phenomenon, whereas human activities contribute to the formation of smog. He stressed the need to implement measures to combat smog, particularly in areas like Lahore.

The ministry clarified that both carbon-intensive industries and general pollution contribute to smog. It was conveyed that 45 percent of smog is attributed to vehicle emissions. In discussions about the way forward, the ministry emphasized key factors, such as enhancing fuel quality, implementing mandatory annual certification for vehicles, promoting clean energy and sustainable transportation, adopting cleaner agricultural practices, improving waste management, raising public awareness and education, and implementing urban forestation. Additionally, the ministry suggested installing smog towers as a potential solution, citing their successful installation in China and ongoing efforts in India.

The ministry affirmed that Living Indus has been selected from among 150 applications for the World Restoration Flagship of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and this achievement was commended by the committee members. Furthermore, the ministry also briefed the committee on the Living Indus initiative, emphasizing its aim to restore the ecological health of the Indus basin within Pakistan. They highlighted extensive consultations with the public sector, private sector, experts, and civil society, resulting in a comprehensive list of 25 preliminary interventions. These interventions focus on water and flood management, resource mobilization finance, social inclusion, knowledge base and legislation, pollution control, agri-forestry, and biodiversity. It was conveyed that the financing strategy for Living Indus will concentrate on international support, public finance, community involvement, and public-private partnerships.

Moreover, former Senator Nisar Memon provided a detailed briefing on the new convention on Delta Unite (The Convention on Conservation of Deltas). He highlighted the challenges of the Indus River, emphasizing that the real issue lies in surface and groundwater, posing a regional and global challenge. He pointed out that livelihoods, including agriculture, fishing, and livestock rearing, have been adversely affected, leading to various social issues such as poverty and healthcare concerns.

In general, he commended the Living Indus initiative and expressed appreciation for the Senate team's active participation in Cop 28. The meeting concluded with the chairperson's suggestion to emphasize climate change in policymaking and foster public awareness regarding the avoidance of plastic usage. In attendance were Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Taj Haider, Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Keshoo Bai, Senator Khalida Ateeb, Ex-Senator Nisar Memon, the Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination and the senior officers from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination.