Geneva: Speakers at a seminar while highlighting impacts of climate change on human lives have said that a collective response and concerted action was direly required to save vulnerable populations in disputed territories who were at the risk from climate change.
The seminar was attended by international experts, human rights activists, diplomats and academicians, hailing from different parts of the world. The seminar/Webinar was moderated by Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan Executive Director KIIR, the Speaker include, Dr. Imtiyaz Khan USA, Dr. Syed Waqas Ali Kausar, NUML, leon sue American Human Rights Activist, Dr. Saira Farooq Shah MUST, Syed Muhammad Ali strategic expert, Ms Fatima Waheed NDU
Terming climate change as a global problem, the speakers said that climate change posed a serious threat to people living in conflict hit regions where communities face myriad challenges and vulnerabilities compound by political conflicts, violence and heavy militarization.
The territory of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Indian illegally, they said, was one of the World’s worst hit regions where climate change has affected the lives of Kashmiri people in many different ways.
“Kashmir is one amongst the climate change prone regions”, they said, adding that the long drawn conflict, on the one hand poses a serious risk to life, health, food and living of individuals and communities across the territory while on the other fluctuating temperatures, melting glaciers, incessant rains causing flash floods have wreaked havoc on key sectors of the region’s economy.
They said that the rising temperatures have led to severe water shortage in Kashmir.
“The water scarcity has adversely affected the region’s agriculture sector”, they said, adding that it has also affected the crop yield besides disrupting the food supply and access to quality food.
“Like other parts of the world Kashmir has witnessed significant decrease in groundwater”, they said, adding that the wetlands of Kashmir that host hundreds of species of birds round the year have been affected by the climate change.
Referring to a news report on impacts of climate change in the Himalayan region, they said that the UN designated disputed territory was also a host to world’s top snow peaks, glaciers and riverine system – a dimension which was being deeply neglected amidst intense conflict.
“Climate change can be a driver of conflict but in case of Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict itself has potential and is acting as driver of climate change”, the speakers said.
They said that the developed countries who have been directly responsible for global warming must come forward in a big way to help the climate change prone countries to boost up their ability to respond to disasters and cope up with climate challenges.
Referring to the massive troops’concentration in Kashmir, the speakers said that the environmentally fragile region was a host to the highest military concentration-a major factor causing serious climatic issues to local habitat.
“More than nine hundred thousand troops deployed by India in disputed territory armed with heavy artillery is a major destabilizer for local ecology”, they said.
“The troops deployed on fast melting Siachin Glacier is disrupting natural ecosystem and military activity is hugely contributing in rise in temperature”, they said.
They said that the LoC – itself acts as driver in disturbing ecosystem.
They said that concerted efforts, a robust initiative and broader regional approach was needed to address climate crisis.
They said that besides collaboration between the communities and state institutions, early warning systems, data sharing mechanisms beyond borders was required to minimizing losses during natural calamities.
They said that trust and relationship among communities can only be forged by resolving conflicts, addressing political issues like issue of Jammu and Kashmir.