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Sherry Rehman urges youth to play role in fighting climate change

Sherry Rehman urges youth to play role in fighting climate change

طوبیٰ Tooba 8 months ago 0 4

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PPP leader and Senator Sherry Rehman delivering the keynote address at the COP in my city 2023 event in Islamabad on November 5, 2023. — Provided
PPP leader and Senator Sherry Rehman delivering the keynote address at the “COP in my city 2023” event in Islamabad on November 5, 2023. — Provided
  • Rehman highlights individual responsibility against climate change.
  • PPP leader believes “simple measures can make a huge difference”.
  • Youth should advocate for climate change mitigation steps, she says.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator and former climate change minister Sherry Rehman Sunday stressed that the country’s youth has the potential to play a key role in ensuring transformative change for a sustainable future.

“The engagement and leadership of youth in addressing climate and environmental challenges are of utmost importance,” the PPP leader said while delivering the keynote address at the “COP in my city 2023” event organised by Youth for Climate Pakistan in collaboration with UN Women, UNICEF and UNDP. 

Pakistan is amongst the most vulnerable countries facing the disastrous effects of climate change. With the 2022 deadly floods and prevalent heatwaves, the country has been categorised as “highly” susceptible to climate change impacts by the Economist Intelligence Unit in July earlier this year.

“Youth possess the great potential to instigate the necessary changes to shift the trajectory towards a sustainable future,” Rehman said.

Addressing the issue of smog in Punjab, especially Lahore, the former climate minister said that smog is a problem that can be addressed at the local level and is largely within the control of the community.

“According to news reports, there are 500 people in hospitals in Lahore due to smog that could have been prevented,” she said.

Her remarks come as the country’s largest province has witnessed dangerously high smog and air pollution levels in recent days courtesy of smoke-emitting vehicles, factories and the burning of crops with the Lahore High Court directing the government to impose a “smog emergency” in the provincial capital.

Stressing the need for people to take up responsibility in both community and individual capacities for addressing climate change, the PPP leader highlighted that “simple measures and actions can make a huge difference.”

Commenting on the significance of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28), Rehman said: “The world should remember that one of the goals of COP28 is to leave no one behind. However, women, children, vulnerable groups, and many others are still being left behind by the world. At COP28, youth should advocate for adaptation as a critical aspect of climate change mitigation.”

Despite suffering a heavy blow to the economy due to climate change-related disasters, Pakistan has received the lowest climate financing of merely 5% in the last decade as revealed by an independent assessment report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on climate change from 2011 to 2020.

The report was based on an assessment done in the past decade, with Maldives making it to the top spot by clinching 39% of total available funds. Meanwhile, India secured 20% climate financing, The News reported last month.

Senator “concerned” over Gaza situation

The PPP senator also expressed her “deep concern” over the humanitarian crisis being unfolded in the besieged Gaza Strip due to relentless Israeli bombing for almost a month.

“As we speak, in Gaza, children are facing the onslaught of an entirely unfair and unjust war,” Rehman said adding, “I appreciate everyone for calling it what it is: a cemetery, a graveyard for the children of Palestine. We express our solidarity with them.”

Nearly 10,000 Palestinians have been martyred in the conflict, which began when Hamas fighters launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people and the abduction of more than 240 others.

According to Ashraf Al-Qudra, the spokesperson for the Gaza Strip’s Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 9,770 — of which around 4,800 are children.

Meanwhile, the evacuation of injured Palestinians to Egypt via the Rafah crossing has remained suspended since Saturday following an Israeli strike on an ambulance on Friday, sources told Reuters.

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