NA Committee on Climate Change meets to consider NDMA Amendment Bill 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change met at the Parliament House on Friday under the Chairmanship of Senator Mir Mohammad Yousaf Badini to consider National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The meeting was attended by Senators Sitara Ayaz, Nuzhat Sadiq, Gul Bashra, Pervaiz Rashid, Saleem Zia, Ahmed Hassan and Samina Saeed, Mian Mohammad Ateeq Sheikh as mover of the Bill.

The Minister of Climate Change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, attended the meeting along with senior officials of the Ministry of Climate Change and representative of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Chairman Committee Senator Mir Mohammad Yousaf Badini commenced the meeting by extending a warm welcome to the Minister of Climate Change for being reinstated at the respective Cabinet portfolio. The Minister gratefully acknowledged and hoped to fulfil the expectations of the Pakistani nation.

The absence of the Chairman NDMA displeased Senator Pervaiz Rashid and who protested against the casual behaviour displayed by NDMA management. He raised concerns, believing that such actions set an example for other executive institutions to replicate, which eventually led to lack of respect for parliamentary supremacy. The mover of ‘National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Sheikh, regretted that such indifferent behaviour regarding an important piece of legislation having significant impact on the future course of action taken by NDMA was disappointing. He insisted that the Chairman NDMA should have been present in person before the Standing Committee to deliberate upon the bill.

The Chairman Committee agreed with the Senators and deferred the deliberation on the ‘National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ for next meeting.

The Director General Environment and Additional Secretary Climate Change briefed the Standing Committee, in detail and steps taken for pro-poor gender sensitive adaption 2012-2017. They laid before the Committee a 25 year framework from 2014 to 2030 developed by the Ministry to address various challenges. In addition to this, the GLOF project had been sent to ECNEC for approval and was expected to be a major game changer in reigning climate change environment. DG Environment clarified that no gender specific policy had been formulated but clauses of existing policies exhibited gender inclusivity. The major hurdle faced in the implementation process was lack of cooperation with provinces since Climate Change was a devolved subject.

Senator Ms. Samina Saeed called for inclusion of parliamentarians in the implementation process by entrusting them to bridge gaps between the federal and provincial governments. The Minister Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan appreciated the suggestion and vowed to formulate an eight member Coordination Committee, comprising of four members each from both Houses, with the condition that one member would taken from each federating unit. The Minister also suggested inviting the members of Coordination Committee to Standing Committee meetings of both Houses. This was accepted by the Chairman Committee as a positive gesture for facilitate implementation coordination for policies and programmes.

The Minister of Climate Change further raised important points regarding environmental protection. He noted that lack of awareness among the people was a looming threat for productive climate change policies and educating the local religious leaders was a viable way of solving this problem since the local mosques had effective impact in the mind-set of the general populace.