Round Table Consultation on ‘Role of Parliament in Meeting the Clean Air Challenge,’ Sept., 18, 2017

  • Publication Date: Tue, September 26, 2017

    On 18th September 2017, National Assembly of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services along with Air Quality Asia arranged a round table consultation on The Role of Parliament in Meeting for honourable Members of six standing committees at the National Parliament. The consultation was attended by more than 45 honorable members of the Parliament from standing committees of climate change, health and education. Around 35 experts and researchers from US and Pakistan also participated in the event co hosted by MNA Mr Naved Qamar, Member, PIPS BoG and Washington based advocacy NGO Air Quality Asia. The four member team of PIPS Research and IT wing comprising Mr Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, Director Research and IT, Ms Tehseen Khalid, Senior Research Officer, Ms Fakiha Mahmood RO and YPSEs Ms Nayyab Abeer coordinated various tasks. PIPS also provided SDGs databook to all participants as Reader to the important day long deliberations.

    The panelists highlighted various factors impacting the clean air in Pakistan and proposed multiple solutions to the meet the clean air challenge. The proceedings commenced by recitation from the verses of Holy Quran. Honorable Syed Naveed Qamar, Member National Assembly said that Air Pollution is not only a national issue rather it is a transboundary issue because of which we must raise this issue and bring about change as we can and for that parliamentarians can play a very vital role. Ms. Shazia Z. Rafi, President-Air Quality Asia discussed the aim of Air Quality Asia and its role towards providing clean air. Honorable Malik Uzair Khan, Chairman Climate Change Committee National Assembly and Member National Assembly revealed that Pakistan’s Parliament is the first Parliament in the world with SDG’s committee and secretariat. Honorable Marium Aurengzeb, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage and Convener National Parliamentary Taskforce on SDGs informed the participants that air pollution has negative impacts on the environment, human health and GDP. She stressed that public awareness is very important for which electronic media can play an effective role in collaboration with civil society. She acknowledged the services of Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services as the secretariat to all parliamentary SDGs Taskforces which is linked to the National Parliamentary SDGs Taskforce, first of its kind in the whole world.

    Mr. Mushahid Ullah Khan, Minister for Climate Change also graced the occasion. He discussed the present air quality situation of Pakistan and its associated impacts on human health and the environment. Dr. Zafar Fatimi from Aga Khan University said that 3.7 million annual deaths globally are due to air pollution with 88% of fatalities are in low and middle income countries. Dr. Shazli Manzoor, renowned pulmonologist, informed that air pollution is responsible for causing wide spread allergies across Islamabad and many regions of Pakistan. Mr. Bilal Khalid, from Lead Pakistan, discussed the Global Urbanization trends and shed light on the interface of air quality and climate change and also described the role of Short Lived Climate forcing Pollutants (SCLPs) in causing air pollution.

    Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute said that urban air quality is worst in most cities of Pakistan especially in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Karachi. Honorable Senator Sherry Rehman added that environmental monitoring data must be circulated among the parliamentarians so that they can raise the issue of Climate Change and air pollution in the House and aid in policy interventions. Mr. Rafey Alam, said that there are no sufficient air quality monitoring systems in Pakistan. At the end, Mr. Jawad Ali Khan from UNEP said that Pakistan is blessed abundantly with many clean sources of energy and if we adopt any one of these clean sources then we can overcome our air pollution challenges and can also develop new capacity for Carbon Trading. Lastly, he suggested involving UN in the forefront to coordinate between the federal and provincial government so that our common interest can be achieved. The discussion concluded with a vote of thanks from the AQA President, Ms. Shazia Z. Rafi and group photo