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    Panelists focus on solutions to Pakistan’s environmental challenges

    Panelists focus on solutions to Pakistan’s environmental challenges

    Chitral Times Report

    ISLAMABAD: In an insightful session of the ongoing 28th Conference of Parties (COP 28) in Dubai, experts gathered for a panel discussion themed ‘Using Data to Build Climate Resilient Cities in Pakistan’ and deliberated on finding solutions to the country’s environmental challenges. The discussion, moderated by Nadia Rehman, Member (Food Security & Climate Change) at the Planning Commission, focused on “the integration of data science and urban planning to address Pakistan’s environmental challenges,”. Participating in the panel discussion, Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Awais Manzur Sumra highlighted his ministry’s efforts in “Data Governance”, especially after last year’s catastrophic floods. He emphasized consensus on an interagency data-sharing framework, part of a larger initiative to improve seasonal floods and weather forecasting based on the National Disaster Management Plan developed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA).

    Chairman NDMA, Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik described the NDMA’s evolving role and its recent advancements, including the commissioning of the National Emergencies Operation Centre (NEOC), which gathers data from various satellites for improved disaster response. Dr Asim Zia, Professor at the University of Vermont discussed the importance of integrating early action information into early warning systems. He emphasized the need for a governance framework to translate early action information into impact advisories, potentially utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance these systems. Dr Maaz Gardezi, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech, spoke on the utilization of big data and AI in impact advisories.

    He highlighted the crucial role of local knowledge and community engagement, sharing experiences from Baltistan where understanding local environmental cues was vital for disaster response. The panel also addressed the role of data in climate justice and urban resilience. Sumra mentioned the Planning Commission’s updated approach to project appraisal, integrating climate considerations in line with the National Adaptation Plan (NAP). Dr Zia further discussed concerns regarding data optimization and security in a governance architecture, suggesting the use of differential privacy algorithms to manage data sharing securely. Dr Gardezi touched on the importance of open data policies for citizen engagement, particularly in digital agriculture, advocating for the government to encourage citizen involvement in the design of applications. The panel discussion at COP28 was a significant step in outlining strategies for using data to build climate-resilient cities in Pakistan, emphasizing the need for innovative, culturally sensitive, and technologically advanced approaches to urban planning.

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