Opinion Author: Hafiz Jawad Sohail Comments
ASIA: Pakistan

On 12th December 2015, the countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, for which everyone needs to play their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.

As we know, climate change is now affecting countries on every continent and it needs to be addressed. If we take no action now, we can all suffer from the consequences of climate change impacts.

Can we orchestrate enormous action to combat climate change?

Great forces are generated when a point of common interest presents itself. Actions speak louder than endless words spoken about objectives. The world we envision needs perpetual and determined action. We have the greatest platform to unite our synergies and envision a sustainable future. We know no other planet with these facilities and characteristics, which our beloved earth has bestowed upon us.

Isn't it our responsibility and our need to make it livable?
Our care for the vulnerable and most affected people will promote action, participation and finance. The reserves of Mother Nature are blessings for all mankind and we need it without political boundaries. Our religions demand us to help the poor and those in need of help, whether they are humans, animal or plants. Developed countries have to understand the needs of developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Technology and experience should be transferred to enhance capacity building.

Tools and multi-level instruments to leverage implementation of the Paris Agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are translating climate resilience information to support policy and decision makers:
We have to use different approaches to implement the Paris Agreement and NDCs. The best way is to create awareness and educate the community.

Academic approach

We must repeat the importance of environmental inclusion and climate change science in all academic programs and research. Integration of climate science is the best method to ensure progress. We should not only make it into a single particular program or subject, but instead we have to integrate it into every science and arts subject as well.

Subjects such as “Environment and Climate Connection” should be added to all academic programs from engineering to social sciences. For example, a civil engineering student should study a subject “environment and climate change” in his degree program. This subject will help him to integrate sustainability into construction projects and environmental assessments. This will also promote Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

Age and Gender based approach

This method is very important to create awareness about climate action. As children and teenagers are likely to be attracted by rewards and achievements, we could arrange various competitions, games and exhibitions in schools or colleges to create awareness about environment and climate action.

At this stage, the best way is to include the environment in their academic programs and create opportunities. Provide them with scholarships, funding projects, training and workshops. This will enhance innovation and technology for mitigation and adaptation.
Sector based approach:

All projects formulation and appraisals should involve environmental assessments in their planning and implementation. Thus establishing departments that are focused on “Sustainable Works” in ministries and public offices can have positive impacts on the environmental aspects of all public projects, assessments, problems and their solutions. It can also provide instruments and technical assistance during the implementation of a project life cycle.

A separate financing mechanism or subsidiary budget allocation can be established through the main ministry responsible for climate which will announce rewards/ subsidiaries for those which lead the way in terms of environmental integration and inclusion in their projects.

Forums approach

There are global, regional and national institutions and forums to implement climate action. They range from policymaking and implementation, to monitoring and evaluation stages. Here, we can also adopt the rewards-achievement-responsibility approach to implement the Paris Agreement and NDCs.

Besides, the United Nations and its organizations provide the best platform to make policies and extract pledges from world leaders to act on climate issues. It is also important for National Governments to integrate environment and climate measures into policy making and the work of its ministries.

A humane based approach is necessary to protect the property, life and health of every citizen and they are also related to environment and climate. Government can give their projects to the private sector entities, which will integrate environment into their projects, leases and contracts.

There is a problem here which needs to be addressed properly. HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment) policies should be effectively implemented in all industries and workplaces to ensure the labor rights, health and safety of ordinary citizens.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification is given to any company or industry where even the basic standards are missing in most of developing and least developed countries.

Accountability and Monitoring & Evaluation approaches are needed here. Compact and accurate data should be available at a national level, which should be generated periodically. Local governments and municipal cities can better support national governments and create awareness for climate measures. They can also integrate environment and sustainability approaches that they judge to be good practices.

Social responsibility versus nature’s preservation responsibility

Many industries and the entire corporate sector include Corporate Social Responsibility in their policies and profiles. They promote social and community projects in their areas of interests or operations. They build roads, schools and water filtration plants to show their concern for human rights and social responsibilities in response to the benefits they get from resources and reserves.

We must return something to nature in return for the advantages we are obtaining from it. These can be in the form of remedies. For example, if an industry emits greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, then it must remedy it by planting an appropriate amount of trees or investing in climate measures in response to the threat that it is causing to earth.

So, we must agree that for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part. We have to act now for our envisioned future.

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