COP 19: Pakistan should focus on tech transfer, funds

An edited version of this article was first published on Nov 8, 2013.

Islamabad – Pakistan’s delegation to an upcoming international government-level conference on climate change should focus on benefitting from technology transfer and funding mechanisms, which might come under discussion at the conference, according to Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry.

Chaudhry, a senior climate change expert, was speaking on Thursday at a day-long workshop for journalists organised by LEAD Pakistan in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung.

The workshop focused on ways Pakistani journalists could cover the nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) — the COP is a conference of countries that have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty aimed at preventing the harmful impact of human activities on Earth’s climate.

COP 19 is going to be held in Warsaw, Poland, from November 11 to 22. A delegation, which will most likely be led by Secretary Climate Change Division Raja Hassan Abbas, will represent Pakistan at the conference.

Chaudhry said there weren’t many expectations from COP 19 as it is a preparatory event for the 2015 COP in Paris, which is expected to be the setting for all countries to sign an agreement to start reducing carbon emissions by 2020.

But COP 19 could not entirely be ignored, Chaudhry, who is the Deputy Regional Director Asia for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and a Climate Change Adviser for LEAD Pakistan, said.

“There are some important agenda items such as technology transfer and funding mechanisms for combating climate change,” he told journalists, most of them environment reporters, at the workshop.

Chaudhry said Pakistan’s delegation should try to network local institutions with an under-development mechanism for technology transfer, so that whenever some new climate change adaptation technology is developed in the future, Pakistan would be able to access it.

Similarly, he said Pakistani officials should use COP 19 as an opportunity to determine how they can tap in to international sources of funding for climate change adaptation projects.

Earlier, journalists talked about possible ways to mainstream climate change reporting on Pakistan’s media landscape, which is otherwise vibrant but obsessed with political news.

Afia Salam, a journalist who is actively engaged in environment communications, said there is plenty of climate change-related research available at Pakistani universities and research centres, but journalists need to utilize the research more effectively.

Faisal Raza Khan, a reporter who attended COP 17 and writers regularly on climate change, said Pakistan’s media needs to focus on issues of social protection, which are increasingly getting connected with impacts of climate change. Khan said the news reports on climate change, often burdened with scientific information, should be disseminated to the masses in a form and manner that can be easily understood

Other participants talked at length about improving coordination between journalists and academia on climate change affairs. The role of the Climate Change Division also came under scrutiny but participants said the division should trust the journalists.

Chaudhry said both Pakistan’s government and media would do well by realizing that climate change is not just an environmental issue but an issue that cuts across many sectors.

“It is a developmental issue, it is an economic issue, it is a survival issue,” Chaudhry said, indicating the impact of climate change on water, agriculture and energy sectors.

LEAD Pakistan works on issues related to environment and sustainable development and the Heinrich Boll Stiftung is a German political foundation.

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