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Small farmers from South Punjab presents Charter of Demand to environment minister

Oxfam and Indus Consortium launch report under GROW Campaign

The Educationist Report 

Lahore (2 Feb 2017): Small Farmers who have been badly affected by the impacts of climate change presented their ‘charter of demands’ to the Minister for Environment Zakia Shah Nawaz at a launching ceremony of a report highlighting budget analysis of Punjab (2016-17), in particular reference to allocation against climate change adaptation. The ceremony was organized by Oxfam and Indus Consortium under GROW Campaign at a local hotel.

The scientific evidences predict that the extreme weather events will become more frequent as a result of climate change in the coming years. Despite of taking some practical measures, an admission on the part of the government has been made which says that several core issues are still to be addressed besides the implementation related challenges.

The discourse on climate change, the impacts and the need for measures for adaptation in the face of this unprecedented challenge has now been perceived as quite serious at different levels in Pakistan. The shift in paradigm on climate change discussion started receiving attention during last few years, especially in the wake of heavy floods which occurred in the year 2010 and 2011. These were followed by more such calamities with frequent intervals inflicting huge damages on the agriculture sector of the country – the result: disrupted livelihoods especially linked with agriculture sector of the country.

The GROW campaign was focused on two major outcomes i.e. 1) Modeling the Local Adaptation Plans of Action (LAPAs) in six districts of Punjab province and 2) conducting a study ‘Climate Public Expenditure Review’, which was basically aimed to track the expenditures related to climate change in the provincial budget.

Pakistan, being a responsibly member state as well as one of the worst climate change hit countries, also needs to take some urgent steps to ensure enough resource allocations to combat this threat. With this context, Indus Consortium in collaboration with Oxfam conducted a study to serve as base line on climate change budget. The study as ‘Budget Primer’ was a review of public expenditure at provincial level. The study was aimed to ascertain overall funds allocations contributing in preparation to combat the impacts of climate change in the province.

The study while keeping the adverse effects of climate change in consideration, underpinned the need of an additional finance to support the provincial struggle to combat the adverse effects of climate change. This can be achieved through the integration of the national policy as well as appropriate resource allocation.

The GROW campaign’s Provincial Steering Committee, Punjab also convened special session to come up with some practical suggestions, especially for the provincial government to advance the agenda of climate change adaptation. These recommendations on Policy and Actions on Climate Change are detailed as follow:

General Recommendations:

  1. Adopt multi-hazards vulnerability risk assessment (MVRA) approach in each districts of Punjab for development of local adaptation plans of actions (LAPA) in each sectors (Agriculture, fisheries, livestock, water & forest)
  2. Incorporate findings of local adaptation plan of actions in district annual development plan and allocate financial resources, specifically for development of projects/ schemes for women
  3. Develop voluntary program for mass awareness on climate change, especially for women and establish climate farmer field schools in each district

Recommendations on Agriculture:

  1. Ensure allocated water distribution from head to tail end at all water courses by amending the pre-existing law of irrigation (1837).
    1. Water stealing should be non-bail-able offense and large fines should be set according to the type of offense as well as the purchasing power of the stealer.
  2. PIDA’s annual maintenance and cleaning process for canals should be made more effective.
  3. Agriculture areas to be surveyed and water to be supplied every 6 months taking into account the area, population and types of crops.
  4. Appropriate legislation to stop the use of fertile lands for development purpose.
  5. Training and equipping small farmers especially women with latest technology and products that will amplify their output by using Climate Farmer Field Schools (CFFS).
  6. There is no record for women farmers and their assistance. Women farmers’ contributions need to be acknowledged in the GDP.
  7. Compensation for small farmers and women for flooding on irrigated land according to law; either they are to be given alternate lands or effective methods to ensure flood mitigation need to be in place.
  8. Government to bear onetime cost (in place of subsidy) to ensure placement of renewable energy resources instead of diesel (solar, wind energy etc)
  9. Ensure microfinance and crop insurance facility for small farmers, especially women.

Develop farm-level resource management innovations to address the risk associated with changing temperature, moisture and other relevant climatic conditions

  1. Adopt new technologies, such as solar tube well and adopt drip irrigation/ sprinkler system in drought areas of Punjab
  2. Develop crop insurance programs to influence farm-level risk management strategies with

respect to climate-related loss of crop yields.

Recommendations on Livestock, Fisheries and Management:

  1. Allotment of state land to landless small farmers, especially women.
  2. Mobile hospital extension to be made for entire Punjab province; general health information available at all hospitals.
  3. Fodder preservation technology awareness needs to be incorporated.
  4. Livestock food authority to control and ensure quality of fodder along with spreading awareness on preservation.
  5. Introduce livestock promotional loans
  6. Establish government livestock model forums at district levels
  7. Ensure preservation of indigenous breeds
  8. Incorporate wastage management plans for livestock
  9. Introduce fishing toolkit for the fishery department
  10. Contractual system for fisheries should be replaced with license system in Punjab following the Sindh model
  11. Allocation of financial resources for public universities to engage youth and academia for applied research in agriculture, livestock and fisheries sector.
  12. Awareness and strict implementation of pre-existing law on specified fish catching net size and species.

Recommendations on Forestry:

  1. Government to give subsidy to women farmers on the purchase and installation of bio gas plants to reduce carbon emissions
  2. Provincial government to grow and preserve the pre-existing forest hubs by improving legislation
  3. Allocate appropriate resources for the management, maintenance and promotion of sustainable forestry
  4. Establish new forest ranges at the land of railway department
  5. Forest cutting needs to be stopped. Forest coverage should be improved in riverine areas to decrease the effects of land erosion.
  6. Community forests should be encouraged; increase ownership of the community towards forest care and preservation by giving them the rights – preference for small farmers especially women.
  7. Government to introduce climate resilient tree species and put a stop to plantation of harmful species.

Recommendations on Climate Finance:

  1. Establish provincial & district level units for climate fund to support Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) in each district of Punjab.
  2. Establish District climate field school for awareness and to promote projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation, especially for women
  3. Integrate and allocate climate change funds in district annual development plan (ADP) and adopt multi-hazards vulnerability risk assessment (MVRA) approach for LAPA development.

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