World Vision Pakistan staff in Oghi Sub division getting ready to take action on Climate Crisis

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World Vision Pakistan staff in Oghi Sub division getting ready to take action on Climate Crisis

  1. 1. World Vision Pakistan staff in Oghi Sub division getting ready to take action on Climate Crisis Climate change effects have adversely impacted the District Mansehra during the past 20 years. Rural communities living in this area are mostly affected by increasing number of natural disasters due to melting glaciers and snow in northern hilly areas and leading to flooding, soil degradation and damages to agricultural land and crops, particularly during summer. A continuously decreasing level of water has been observed in this region while the pleasant cold weather is becoming hotter and hotter every year as mean temperature has raised 0.6 to 1 degree Celsius in arid mountains and arid plains. Communities living in this area by large depend on farming as their major source of livelihoods, followed by livestock, remittances and labor, the damages to agricultural lands, decreasing level of water in rivers together with pest attacks on crops is contributing in low productively and making the area food insecure. Similarly in past, this region has always been impacted by heavy rains during monsoon season but now unexpected heavy rains are occurring before or after the monsoon and result in flash floods, soil erosion and landslides. Overall in Pakistan, it is estimated that 18-32% increase in monsoon rainfall has been observed in sub humid and humid areas, while 17- 64% departure of rainfall from normal season has been recorded during strong EL Nino events. Oghi- one of the sub divisions of District Mansehra is also among those areas where food insecurity and increasing natural disasters have been significantly observed in the past two decades. Oghi is located at a distance of 40 kilometer in the north of main Mansehra city. It is a beautiful mountainous and lush green hilly area however like other regions this area has also lost a major part of their precious forests due to extensive use for fuel and illegal wood cutting from government reserved forests. World Vision Pakistan is working in this region after the earthquake of 2005 while food security has now got a major focus in terms of different agricultural related and agro forestry projects for local communities in collaboration with government. More then 70% of the communities depend on forests for their livelihoods and it is majorly used as fuel, keeping houses warms during winter and houses construction. Illegal wood cutting also continues. All these factors contribute in increasing level of landslides and degrading environment. Another risk that threaten lives of community is strong winds and storms as most of the houses roof are built of iron sheets, particularly after the earthquake of 2005 where during the relief and rehabilitation phase, most of the NGOs have distributed CGI sheets for reconstruction of houses. Often strong
  2. 2. winds/storm result in flying off lose iron sheets from the roofs and causes injuries and casualties. Communities of this region consider storms as an unexpected uncontrolled natural phenomena, while mostly unaware and illiterate, particularly women; they never think that all these natural disasters are actually the cause of human activities (such as increasing CO2). My participation in Asia-Pacific Summit on Climate Change last month in Melbourne inspired my thinking about engaging local communities and government for their livelihoods protection through more innovative means rather then conventional approach of working. Looking at the longer term consequences of climate change in this region, I have started mobilizing my own colleagues working in World Vision to think about longer term planning for community livelihoods protection by establishing its strong correlation with climate change. We need to think about the emerging and most needed role of NGO professionals and government authorities in combating the climate crises that are increasing day by day and impacting human beings and their natural, physical as well as social assets. I delivered my second presentation on Climate Change to World Vision Pakistan in Oghi field office on 30th July, 2009 where twenty staff members (managers, programme and support staff) participated and got to know about the science of climate change, its cause particularly the increasing level of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, increasing environmental degradation and its impacts all over the world as well as in Pakistan. Presentation covered the factors that contribute to increasing CO2 i.e. use of fossil fuel, deforestation etc. We particularly discussed about the consequences of climate change in District Mansehra and Oghi and reviewed the current and future strategies of development under the Oghi Area Integrated Programme of World Vision Pakistan to look for more opportunities in the field of environmental protection, food security, renewable energies and advocacy with relevant authorities that contribute to communities’ increased resilience and protection from the adverse effects of climate change. We as part of our society also focused on what personal actions we can take at the individual, family and community level to fulfill our own responsibilities to combat climate crises. The presentation particularly focused on motivation of every one to think about this crisis as the most important and core issue of development and an increasing risk to the planet. Environmental degradation and food insecurity were our key themes. We also discussed about the role of Pakistan government in joining international community with more serious actions and responsibilities, looking for technology transfer and increasing efforts in renewable energies. We also discussed about the possibilities of hydro power projects that have more potential in northern hilly areas of District Mansehra to produce electricity for rural communities as well as using water for multi cropping, nurseries raising, fish farming and lots of other small scale initiatives for improving livelihoods. By the end of presentation, the participants expressed their personal commitments that how they will be changing their lives and taking actions to play their due role in combating the climate crisis. These
  3. 3. are like doing more plantation, sharing knowledge with friends, families and communities in their area of work, careful use of electricity and water, mobilizing school children etc. While there were also commitments from programme staff such as advocating on the issue of climate change, writing concept papers for new projects, integrating environment as cross cutting theme into different development projects. Here are few commitments shared by the World Vision Pakistan- Oghi staff; I will plant 100 trees in my village and I will make aware and motivate my villagers to do more plantations to keep the environment safe. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Area Development Manager Being an advocacy officer I will write a proposal on awareness raising on climate change issues among local communities and sensitizing them towards their responsibility to preserve the environment in their areas. I will arrange a walk with school children to make them aware on climate change effects and motivate them to do more plantations in their school and their villages. Ms. Irum Gillani, Advocacy Officer I will visit the government forest department and ask them to provide plants for the primary schools and I will mobilize students and teachers of the primary schools for plantation in their schools and surrounding areas. Ms. Shagufta Haleem, Community Project Officer I will grow a plan in my house and I will share with my family members, friends and neighbors about the importance of environmental protection and our responsibility to do so. Ms. Zaryab Yousaf, Assistant Monitoring & Evaluation Officer

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