Experts demand inclusion of climate change in govt plans

 GILGIT: Karakoram International University (KIU), Gilgit organized a three-day conference on Mountains and Climate Change ľ Resources, Challenges and Opportunities for Better Life and Livelihoods. Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafiz ur Rehman formally inaugurated the event and expressed his pleasure over the international conference taking place in Gilgit-Baltistan. International experts from Kathmandu University, Nepal; NorwegianUniversity of Life Sciences, Norway; ICIMOD; Politecnico di Milano, Italy; College of Environmental Protection Velenje Trgmladosti Velenje, Slovenia, EU; EV-K2-CNR; and Institute for Ecosystem Study, Italy, discussed various aspects of climate change and its impacts on fragile mountain ecosystems, lives and livelihoods.  Hafiz Hafiz ur Rehman, CM, Gilgit stated his concerns over the increase in extreme weathering events in GB. According to him, ĹChanging snowfall patterns, annual flooding, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), soil erosion and deforestation are some of the major threats government of G-B faces at large. Rather compensating the communities affected from such events, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies can help to deal with environmental hazards. He  strongly believed that this conference will serve as guidance for international community and promote research-based solutions in the region. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Asif Khan, Vice Chancellor, KIU and the Conference Chair, said ĹThis conference has played an effective role to chalk out future strategies for establishing research degree programs at KIU specifically focused on climate-related issues such as glaciology, permafrost monitoring, natural hazard management, high-altitude meteorology, GIS remote sensing and adaptability in response to climate change.   Dr. Babar Khan, Senior Manager, WWF-Pakistan, the Conference Co-chair, briefed the participants regarding the significance of conference in the region. According to him, ĹBy having a look at this conference in context to COP21, it will help to raise the voice of mountain communities at the international platform. More than 75 researchers who presented their papers on various themes are beneficial for the entire region and their recommendations should be incorporated in government policies and implemented herewith. National experts from KIU, WWF-Pakistan, AKRSP, University of Agriculture, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), government departments and other educational institutions also highlighted the impacts of climate change on mountain communities who are getting affected from unpredictable weather patterns. The last day of the conference was followed by a field visit to Passu glacier, Hunza, in order to highlight climatic impacts on the glacier, so that researchers can witness the detrimental effects of climate change in Gilgit-Baltistan. INP

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