SciDev.Net

Pakistan revamps climate study centre

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Source: SciDev.Net

ISLAMABAD -- With extra funding and empowering legislation Pakistan's autonomous Global Climate Change Impact Centre (GCCIC) is set to take on a regional and international role in climate research.

Legislation passed this month (6 March) is expected to transform the GCCIC into a centre capable of providing data for decision making and formulating policy in areas such as agriculture, creating infrastructure, improving the social sectors and in disaster preparedness.

Since its formation in 2002, the GCCIC has been plagued by limited budgets and administrative problems arising from constitutional amendments to devolve the functioning of the environment ministry to the provinces.

Arshad M. Khan, executive director GCCIC, told SciDev.Net that the institute is due to get a 20-30 per cent hike to the existing 55 million Pakistani rupees (US$ 553,000) budget that will help it to set up regional centres and acquire equipment for longer term scientific predictions on climate.

'We are committed to excellence in theoretical and experimental research, including modelling and simulation techniques to assess climate change phenomena and impacts for effective implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures,' Khan said.

The GCCIC already runs joint projects with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka with technical and financial support from Austria, Italy, Japan and the US.

On 14 March, the GCCIC and Italy-based Everest-K2 Centre signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate research on climate change and glaciers.

Speaking at the event, Rana Farooq Saeed Khan, federal minister for environmental change, said: 'Snow and glacier melt account for over 50 per cent of the total flow into the Indus basin irrigation system — so glaciers are a lifeline for the country's agro-economy.'

'Effective mitigation of negative impacts and adapting to them is possible only if the impacts and causes are analysed and studied in depth,' Khan stressed.

'As a public sector research arm, GCCIC can take informed decisions regarding mitigation and adaptation to climatic changes and to protect the country's natural resources,' Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, vice-president, World Meteorological Organisation, told SciDev.Net.

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