The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJC) organized the Conference on Climate Change.

By Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad:

The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan hosted a pivotal one-day conference on climate change titled “Navigating Climate Governance, Executive Action, and Judicial Oversight,” at the Supreme Court. The event, attended by a diverse array of stakeholders including judges, legal professionals, academics, researchers, and environmental experts, sought to address the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change. The conference emphasized strengthening executive actions and judicial oversight to mitigate climate impacts and foster global climate governance.

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, served as the Chief Guest. In his keynote address, he underscored the urgent need for adopting eco-friendly measures and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. He suggested providing bicycles to all judges to reduce carbon emissions, drawing parallels with sustainable practices in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark.

The conference was inspired by Azerbaijan’s upcoming hosting of COP29 in November 2024, reflecting a broader commitment to sustainable development and resilience. COP29 aims to maintain greenhouse gas emissions at international standards and foster regional cooperation.

Panel Discussions Highlight Diverse Climate Challenges: The first panel discussion explored Pakistan’s geographical and meteorological challenges, including glacial lake outburst floods, droughts, crop failures, and urban heatwaves. Panelists stressed the need for decisive government leadership and proactive adaptation measures.

The second panel focused on the division of responsibilities between federal and provincial bodies post-18th Amendment, advocating for localized actions and strengthened local governments for effective climate governance.

The final panel, “Courting Climate Change,” examined the judiciary’s role in climate governance and the limitations of executive action. Experts emphasized the need for effective vulnerability mapping and robust local governance structures.

Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP): Established in 1979, the LJCP, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, focuses on legislative review, legal literacy, justice reforms, and promoting coordination between judiciary and executive. The LJCP plays a crucial role in fostering debates on climate justice, emphasizing distributive and procedural justice and recognizing diversity.

Highlights from the Conference: Eazaz Dar, Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, highlighted the importance of collective responsibility in combating climate change. He pointed out challenges like governance, institutional hurdles, and capacity constraints in accessing climate finance.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General of WWF-Pakistan, emphasized the need to address bureaucratic hurdles within global climate funds to enhance Pakistan’s climate resilience. Muhammad Idrees Mahsud from NDMA noted the impact of global warming on weather cycles and called for stronger district disaster management.

Attorney General Mansoor Awan discussed the delayed establishment of the Climate Change Authority and the need for robust local governance to enhance climate resilience. Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Khazar Farhadov, shared Azerbaijan’s preparations for COP29, aiming to mobilize the international community to tackle global warming.

Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri from SDPI stressed that climate change affects various sectors, advocating for independent and financially strengthened climate authorities. Former Interim Climate Change Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam highlighted water issues as a critical climate change manifestation.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah linked climate justice with human rights, emphasizing the judiciary’s role in ensuring environmental laws uphold the rights of vulnerable populations. Justice Ayesha A. Malik and Justice Jawad Hasan underscored the judiciary’s role in climate finance security and legal enforcement.

Pakistan’s Judiciary Role in Climate Framework: The judiciary has played a significant role in environmental justice, linking the right to a healthy environment with fundamental rights like life and dignity. Landmark cases have established the importance of environmental protection, access to clean water, and government accountability in climate action.

Conclusion: The Climate Governance Conference marked a significant milestone in Pakistan’s efforts to address climate change through coordinated executive action and judicial oversight. The comprehensive discussions and proposals highlighted the need for sustainable practices, robust governance, and active judicial engagement to ensure environmental justice and support for vulnerable communities. The conference reinforced Pakistan’s commitment to global climate governance, emphasizing the importance of climate finance, local governance, and judicial oversight in achieving sustainable development goals.


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