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Climate Conversations - Collaboration key to easing South Asia
Climate Conversations -
Collaboration key to easing South Asia crises
Reuters AlertNet , January 11, 2012
Achieving development despite fast
depleting natural resources and without compromising on needs of the
future generations is today a serious challenge for planners,
policymakers, researchers and scientists in South Asian countries,
and collaboration will be crucial.
Researchers and scientists have
come up with ideas and technologies to make sustainable development
through sustainable use of resources possible. But, an absence of
collaboration with planners and policymakers has been a major
roadblock to addressing problems including poverty, hunger, mounting
food insecurity, poor agriculture performance, inefficient
irrigation and water use, climate change, environmental degradation,
inadequate environmental sanitation, joblessness and health crises.
Nadeem Ul Haque, deputy chairman of
the Planning Commission of Pakistan says there is a need for people
to work together to come up with an actionable and creative agenda
for socio-economic growth of in all South Asia, and ways to make the
development more durable.
"Shifting (the) focus of federal
policies of the regional governments from mere political agendas to
science, research and technological advancement is critical for
sustainable development," added Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive
director of the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy
Institute, at the 14th South Asia Sustainable Development Conference
in December last year in Islamabad.
Policymakers and planners must be
able to effectively access research to fight the problems facing the
region, where nearly 600 million of the world’s poor live, speakers
at the conference said.
Peter Taylor, a programme
specialist at Canada’s International Development Research Centre,
remarked that while policymakers’ need access to quality, objective
information generated through independent research, it is also
crucial research addresses the concerns of the region’s governments.
"Such collaboration gaps must be
plugged by the governments themselves (in an effort) to develop and
implement policies … that would help lead to more equitable,
prosperous societies," he said.
In many cases, technological
advances in the region have hardly reached the majority of people
who need them. There are various reasons behind this problem, but
lack of collaboration among policymakers, researchers and government
policymakers is near the top.
TECHNOLOGY NOT REACHING POOR
Eak Bahadur Rana Magar, project
coordinator at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain
Development (ICIMOD), said that the benefits of technology and
access to technology have not reached a huge number of the region’s
poor. Largely that is because market pressures and the needs of
developed countries, rather than those of poor countries, influence
technology development and dissemination.
Besides improving technology access
and research, ensuring adequate preparation to tackle climate change
effects, meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and
ensuring pro-poor governance are key to providing a comfortable
living and food security for South Asia’s 600 million poor.
Bipul Chatterjee, executive
director at the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International,
India, believes that food insecurity and livelihood threats are
further intensified by the impacts of climate change in South Asia.
A well-thought-out plan to mitigate climate change effects on all
socio-economic sectors is need of the hour, he says.
Lack of such a plan “will only
deepen the miseries of all of us, particularly of the marginalised
and the deprived,” he said. Efforts to adopt climate
change-resilience initiatives and low-carbon economic development
efforts to reduce climate change also are key, or the region may
face large-scale impacts, such as the recent devastating flooding in
Pakistan, he said.
Chatterjee said that over the last
several years India has made great strides in key areas of science
and technology, including water conservation, renewable energy and
high-yield crops, and that such advances should be shared with the
"These technologies and relevant
scientific and technological know-how can be transferred to other
regional countries if better collaborative science and technology
policies are implemented," he said.
Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio are development
reporters based in Karachi.
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