Minister: (Mushahdillah pledges to make CPEC mega project ecologically sustainable, climate-resilient)June 6, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahidullah Khan has pledged to work with Chinese counterpart to cope with adverse ecological effects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to make the ambitious project environmentally and economically sustainable and climate-resilient.
“We do know that some quarters concerned are raising voices about the potential environmental impacts of the CPEC, which will connect Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar with China’s three provinces (Beijing, Shanghai and Xian) through Kashgar.
But we are committed to address them at all costs with the help of Chinese government,” the minister stressed during his meeting with Mr. Xinsheng Zhang, President International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) held here on Sunday.
The present Pakistani government views China’s promise of $46bn investment with a focus on building a CPEC as a potential game changer. For, it deems the convergence of the country’s interests with those of China a big boon for ordinary and corporate citizens of the country, China and the region, he highlighted.
He vowed to work with Chinese counterpart to bring together environment and climate change scientists to study in detail the potential hazardous impacts of the 3,000 km-long CPEC, particularly on glaciers, rivers and mountain communities and their livelihoods.
“We will seriously look at the findings into the potential negative impacts of the CPEC and proposed measures in this regard and to cope with the negative impacts with the help of Chinese government to avoid potential irreparable damages to fragile ecosystems, particularly in the country’s north, which is home to nearly 5,000 glaciers and dozens of turquoise river that feed the mighty Indus river – a lifeline of country’s agro-based economy,” he said during the meeting.
The IUCN president lauded the spirit of Mushahidullah Khan and assured him of the full support of his organization at all scales so that whatever socio-economic development is achieved in the region is in conformity with the principles of sustainable development and environmental sustainability.
He told the minister that natural habitat and resettlement and social sector issues were must-meet-requirements for such large scale projects that would connect important regions of the country and trigger economic growth.
The IUCN president stressed the need for mitigating the environmental impacts during all sorts of infrastructure constructions including multi-lane road networks and bridges. He also apprised the minister of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s seriousness towards tackling impacts of climate change at national, regional and global scales.
Mushahidullah Khan told the IUNC’s president that no doubt the China has emerged a global power. Therefore, it should play its due role in helping poor countries to tackle adverse impacts of climate change, particularly on water, agriculture and energy sectors.
“China should also play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation in transfer of funds, technology and technical know-how to the developing countries, particularly in the field of clean and renewable energy, water and forest conservation,” Mushahidullah Khan opined.