The First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-2022) organized by Institute of Agro Industry and Environment, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) started at Baghdad ul Jadeed Campus.

In the inaugural session, Vice-Chancellor IUB Prof Dr Athar Mahboob, Vice-Chancellor University of Sahiwal Prof Dr Javed Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor Sindh Madrasah ut Islam University (SMIU) Karachi Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Sehrai Memon, Vice-Chancellor University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJKU) Prof Dr Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi, Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Environment Prof Dr Moazzam Jamil and Director Institute of Agro Industry and Environment Dr Ghulam Hasan Abbasi spoke.

Dr Athar Mahboob said in his address that climate change is a global problem and to deal with it and its long-term solution, it has to be part of our values. Climate change is actually a problem of human survival and its solution requires individual and collective efforts. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, raised the issue of climate change at the global level in the recent international conference and climate diplomacy was emphasized. The IUB has started from home to this challenge on the principle of solving local problems in a global context. Three years ago, looking at the same challenges, the new core values of the IUB, Tolerance, Honesty, Eco-Friendly, Innovative, Understanding and Beneficial were formulated and made a part of the university policy.

Under the Green Campus campaign, making university campuses environment-friendly and minimizing the use of water, food and other consumables and preventing wastage is a part of this campaign and a large team of university faculty members are trying to implement it. The Institute of Agro-Industry and Environment has been established to ensure environment-friendly initiatives while developing agriculture and agro-based industry. The IUB is the first university in Pakistan where the Inter-University Consortium for Climate Change has been established in which more than 80 universities and institutions are affiliated. The Governor of Punjab, Engr Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman under his patronage realized the usefulness and importance of this consortium and made it a key consortium of universities of Punjab and now the IUB is leading universities across Punjab for climate change and sustainable environment and survival. Scientists of the Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies are working on the indigenous flora of Cholistan and their survival to make the region safe and sustainable.

The university has promoted renewable energy through a 2.5 MW solar plant, which will soon be expanded to 1 MW. A center was set up with the support of South Punjab Secretariat to observe and monitor the Air Quality Index of Bahawalpur. Cooperation with the Punjab government is ongoing on the project of a special agro-economic zone in Cholistan through a rain increase system, which will bring 6 million hectares of land under cultivation and increase the agricultural economy of the country by 10 billion dollars annually. Similarly, the university has introduced a compulsory course in Agriculture and Environment at BS level to make students aware of this important challenge and research has been encouraged at MS and PhD level. He said that the temperature of Bahawalpur has increased by 1 degree centigrade in the last 40 years and it is expected to increase by another 1 degree centigrade, which has affected the climate cycle and the production of crops is also likely to be affected.

Vice-Chancellor University of Sahiwal Dr Javed Akhtar said in his speech that the problem of climate change has created food security, drought and other terrible problems. 3.3 billion people of the world have been affected by it and 350 billion dollars in economic losses have been caused. Pakistan is one of the most affected by climate change in Asia. To deal with this challenge, we have to minimize gas emissions and plant more trees.

Dr Mujibuddin Sehrai Memon on organizing an international conference on this important topic, congratulations to Dr Athar Mahboob. He said that developed countries are responsible for climate change and they should compensate for the loss of developing countries.

Dr Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi said that the recent monsoon rains have caused huge loss of lives and property to Pakistan and a loss of 30 billion dollars. Agriculture is the main component of our economy which is most affected by climate change.

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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