Avari Hotel, Lahore- Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) with collaboration of Anthro Insights organized a National Conference on the ‘Role of Parliamentarians in Climate Change’ on 11th May, 2022 where different parliamentarians, CSOs and academia came together and shared their experiences, and discussed the best practices on climate-sensitive law making, oversight of environmental regulators, and reviewing international commitments on climate change. Ms. Sana Naz, Country Representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy Pakistan formally opened the conference where she highlighted the importance of joining hands for climate action.
Technical Advisor Mr. Mujtaba Zaidi moderated the first session on ‘Legislation for Climate Change: Role of Parliamentarians’. The notable panellists for this session included MNA Shahida Rehmani, MPA Mir Muhammad Akbar Mengal who is the Chairman of Standing Committee on Environment Balochistan, MPA Mr. Muhammad Idrees Khattak and MPA Ms. Sidra Imran. The panel discussion revolved around the priority areas for Climate Change Legislation and choosing some relevant approaches taken to improve the legislation.
The second session on ‘International Commitments and Role of Regulatory Authorities on Environment’ was also moderated by Mr Mujtaba Zaidi. The panel included MNA Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam who chaired this session, DG EPA (Federal) Ms. Farzana Altaf, Representative from EPA (Sindh) Mr. Imran, Representative from EPA (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Mr. Asfar, Director (Enforcement) EPA Balochistan Mr. Muhammad Ali Batur, Director General EPA (Punjab) Ms. Anbreen Sajid, Advisor Quality Assurance Program Higher Education Department, KP Prof. Shafiq Ur Rehman and Climate Change Activist Ms. Ameera Adil. This session focused on the working of regulatory bodies on the fulfilment of international commitments, key challenges towards these commitments and how to overcome these.
Ms. Zoya Shaffay moderated the last session on ‘Connecting Academia and Civil Society with Parliaments for Climate Action’. The panel included some notable speakers including MNA Ms. Munaza Hassan, Civic Engagement Expert Mr. Zafarullah Khan, MPA Mr. Malik Badshah Saleh, Assistant Professor NUST Prof. Muhammad Azmat, HOD of Development Studies, NUST Dr. Muhammad Ammad Khan, Environment Lawyer Mr. Ahmad Rafay Alam, and Director NCBC and Founding Member of LUMS Energy Institute Dr. Naveed Arshad. The key areas of discussion in this panel included collaboration between academia/civil society and Parliament, lessons and experiences regarding the collaboration and approach to strengthen the collaboration.
A Q/A session was conducted at the end of each panel discussion in which the conference members enthusiastically took part in it. Challenges related to climate change legislation and environmental issues were also highlighted and recommendations to solve these were also productively discussed. Award shields were also distributed among the prestigious panellists to honour their work for climate change. Mr. Mujtaba Zaidi formally closed the session with the promise of taking these learnings forward and accelerating the climate action for the betterment of our country.