A team of Resilient Future International Pvt Ltd (RFI) visited University of Swabi (UOS), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the invitation of Environmental Green Club and Department of Environment Science. The team included Mr Aftab Alam Khan (CEO), Ms Iqra Khan (Youth Ambassador) and Ms Dua (climate activist). On December 07, 2021, Dr Ruidar Khan, Director ORIC and Dr Nazish Human Khan, Head of Environment Science Department welcomed the RFI team for a seminar on Climate Change. Dr Nazish Huma Khan, highlighted environment related initiatives by UOS that contribute to the Clean and Green Pakistan campaign of the Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Pro Vice Chancellor of University of Swabi, Dr Mukarram Shah, in his inaugural speech highlighted the troika of climate crisis – population growth, rising consumer demand and deforestation. Dr Shah called for collaborative initiatives to deal with the menace of climate change. He appreciated RFI team visit and agreed with Aftab Alam Khan’s suggestion to integrate climate related aspects in the curriculum.
The CEO, RFI Mr Aftab Alam Khan delivered a key note lecture on ‘Climate Change, Challenges and Opportunities for a new economic landscape’. He discussed the impact of climate on agriculture and food security and adaptation mechanisms to deal with the challenge. Among others, he noted that climate change was already impacting food security in the country. In April 2019, excessive rainfalls and hailstorm had destroyed around 0.25 million tons of wheat in central Punjab – that was equal to 01 percent loss of national production. Consequently, the country had faced severe food crisis in December 2019-Janburay 2020 due to shortage of wheat flour. The federal cabinet had to decide importing wheat to address the situation. Mr. Aftab Alam Khan noted that if 01 percent loss could lead to food crisis, imagine the severity of crisis when climate change would lead to 7-10 percent wheat production losses. He stressed upon the need of integrating climate change into agriculture related policies and curriculum of agricultural universities.
Mr Aftab Alam Khan also highlighted the issues of water intensive industrial production of leather shoes, sugar, textile and cola drinks in a country that faces sever water shortage due to climate change and mismanagement of water resources. He called for technological development to set the course for a new climate resilient economic landscape. He offered RFI services for awareness raising, research excellence and curriculum change.
Mr Muhammad Ali Khan Director Environment Protection Agency (EPA) North in his speech, emphasized the need for collaboration among EPA, university and private sector to address practical challenges of climate change. Ms Zakia Javed, Deputy Director (EPA), KP talked about natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change. Ms Javed also presented in details the role and programs of EPA to address the issue of climate change.
Ms Iqra Khan, Youth Ambassador of RFI and student of Fauji Foundation Medical University talked about importance of climate change for youth, human health and the need for networking, learning and sharing. Ms Iqra also shared RFI plans on capacity building webinars and blogging space for youth.
Dr Mukhtar Alam, Dean in his closing remarks referred to the classic book ‘GAIA’ by James Lovelock and reminded the participants that taking care of earth and its resources is essential for the survival of human beings.
In the bilateral discussions Dr Mukarram Shah and Mr Aftab Alam Khan agreed to continue collective efforts against climate change. Mr Aftab Alam Khan thanked Dr Nazish Huma Khan for her leadership to organize the seminar. Dr Nazish converted the request of Ms Sundas (student of UOS) into a successful seminar by inviting presentations of different stakeholders. Mr Aftab also appreciated efforts of Ms Sundas and Ms Iqra Khan to sow the seeds of this event.