Speaker’s Banquet Hall, Parliament House– The meeting started with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by the national anthem. Honorable Chairperson of Standing Committee on Climate Change Ms. Munaza Hassan welcomed the chief guest: Honourable Speaker National Assembly Mr. Asad Qaisar, members of the committee, and the prestigious pool of experts. Referring to COP26, Ms. Hassan informed the audience about the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Preparatory meeting and 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) where input from parliamentarians will be sought regarding the role of parliaments and committees in oversight of the Paris Agreement and other international commitments. For this purpose, Standing Committee is in the process of developing recommendations and would be needing suggestions from the pool of experts and subject specialists.
While briefing the audience, Ms. Hassan stated that this is the first parliamentary committee that has engaged academia, researchers, and civil society regarding climate change. She stressed how there is an immediate need to tackle this issue efficiently and expressed her concerns about the global rise in emissions of greenhouse gases. She further described the Standing Committee’s achievements especially the development of a state-of-the-art website and the creation of a knowledge hub that ensures evidence-based policy-making, expert reviews, and civil society engagement. Through its creation, the committee has developed a country-wide mechanism to engage with academia and think tanks specializing in climate change and the environment. Ms. Munaza Hassan explained that this is one of the largest pools of over 40 subject specialists and experts in the country who are engaged in devising strategies to reverse environmental degradation and climate change.
She sought the Honorable Speaker’s permission to make the knowledge hub a permanent part of the committee so that the future tenures of the committee can also benefit from their research. She hoped that her vision to enhance the committee’s functionality will be realized by the input of experts. She highlighted the 18th Amendment and its role in the devolution of power to provinces, stressing that there is a need for a communication mechanism that effectively accumulates data to further understand the climatic circumstances of the entire country. Moreover, she suggested that provincial committee chairs can be taken into the fold to ensure provincial coordination. She then introduced the parliamentarians and Ms. Rukhsana Naveed to the experts and expressed her delight over having young experts in the meeting. Ms. Hassan concluded her speech by adding that written recommendations are expected for the COP26 IPU meeting from the experts.
The Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly Mr. Asad Qaisar welcomed the audience and thanked Ms. Munaza Hassan for leading the committee in the right direction. He applauded her efforts in leading the committee in the right direction and for having the experts and stakeholders in the loop. He assured the chairperson that experts and other subject specialists will be made a permanent part of the committee and further explained that written recommendations by the experts for COP26 would be highly appreciated. Mr. Qaisar clarified that thus far, the National Assembly has passed 94 bills, delighted over the fact that it’s a major achievement for this tenure. He highlighted that in the guidance of Ms. Munaza, the National Assembly has become more accessible for Persons with Disabilities. He also highlighted the Parliament’s commitments towards FATA development. Mr. Qaisar concluded his speech with a note of thanks and showed Ms. Hassan confidence in her efforts before leaving.
After the Speaker’s note, Standing Committee on Climate Change’s coordinator Mr. Waqar ul Shams briefed the audience about the committee’s commendable performance over the years. He explained the role of the committee and its various laudable initiatives including the dashboard, creation of the knowledge hub, and the feature of the public petition on its website. He further explicated the significance of COP26 and the vital role of parliamentarians in it. He then concluded his presentation by opening the symposium for the experts to share their recommendations and opinions.