In this regard, Aga khan University’s Institute for Global Health & Development (IGHD) department organized a seminar on “Pakistan’s Challenges of Climate Change, Health, and Nutrition in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals: Strategies for Change”.
President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, spoke on the global network and extended support to the SDSN Pakistan hub being set up under the IGHD umbrella. He expressed his concerns about the impact of global conflicts on the progress of sustainable development and emphasized the significance of an approach in which the best minds around the world are working together collaboratively to find common solutions to address the climate change crisis.
Professor stated, “Amid war and conflicts in the world, we are on a trajectory to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius limit in a decade, or even faster. In Pakistan, with deserts, water stress, and heatwaves, this can be deadly,” he stated.
Professor Sachs highlighted the six areas for Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Pakistan to cover: education for boys and girls; a public health system; decarbonization of energy; sustainable agriculture and land use; robust urban infrastructure; and digital connectivity for all.
He underlined the impact of Pakistan’s choices and its need to find a way forward where the country’s resilience and adaptability to calamities arising from climate change are concerned. “There is a dire need for structural reforms post the 18th Amendment, to ensure cohesion between the federal and provincial health systems, and especially the integration of population welfare department with the health department,” he asserted.
The second keynote speech was given by a policy analyst and former senator, Mr. Javed Jabbar, who highlighted the negative impact of extreme weather and climate change on the health, mental health and well-being of vulnerable and marginalized communities across Pakistan, including adolescents and women.
Furthermore, Prince Rahim Aga Khan addressed the seminar via video, shed light on the Aga Khan Development Network’s commitment to groups in the regions it serves. “We build climate resilience by working with communities, alongside government, civil society and private sector so that in the face of climate change, people not only survive but also thrive,” he said.
Dr Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Distinguished University Professor and Founding Director of the IGHD, underscored the need to develop capacity in Pakistan for coordinated action on climate change, health, and nutrition. He presented detailed data on climate change’s impact on agriculture and food security.
Zakir Mahmood, Chairman, AKU’s Board of Trustees; Sulaiman Shahabuddin, President AKU; Dr Carl Amrhein, Provost and Vice President, Academics; and Dr Adil Haider, Professor and Dean, AKU Medical College, Pakistan also spoke at the event.
Institute for Global Health and Development - Aga Khan University
The Institute for Global Health and Development is an interdisciplinary, research-intensive initiative of the Aga Khan University to tackle major global health and development challenges, including the accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Through the partnerships with sister agencies in the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and beyond, the Institute advances AKU’s health sciences leadership in LMICs of Asia and Africa to develop cross-sectoral solutions and coordinated programs to overcome the growing health and health-related challenges.
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