Building resilience to climate change in Pakistan

Photo: khlongwangchao /

Building resilience to climate change in Pakistan

From glacial melt and sea level rise to floods and droughts, Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Widespread poverty, local development issues and security threats add to the associated risks.

The devastating floods of 2010, which affected over 20 million people[1] and caused loss and damage estimated at Rs. 855 billion (5.8% of 2009/2010 gross domestic product)[2], have put climate change, particularly the increasing frequency of natural disasters related to climate change, on the political agenda. The Government of Pakistan has put in place a National Climate Change Policy and a framework for its implementation. There is now a need to mainstream the policy in annual development plans, and identify how these activities will be financed.

The Ministry of Climate Change is facilitating a process with provinces to translate the broad guidelines and general measures in the policy framework into concrete provincial action plans. However, in view of stretched provincial departments, it is a challenge to develop meaningful action plans and for line departments to incorporate climate change measures in core development plans. The enormous cost of needed actions, budget constraints and Pakistan’s small fiscal base are often used as arguments against large-scale investment in adaptation. Nevertheless, planning and climate governance processes can be strengthened to support adaptation and Pakistan has yet to explore the opportunities in securing international sources of climate finance.

Our approach

Action on Climate Today (ACT) works towards better adaptation planning and delivery in Pakistan. The initiative uses national and international climate finance as the catalyst for mainstreaming adaptation into development projects, programmes and policies. ACT aims to maximise the adaptation benefits of development investment, thus building the resilience of Pakistan’s economy and reducing the vulnerability of communities to climate change.

ACT is strengthening the planning process in the province of Punjab using a combination of top-down and bottom-up processes. The top–down process implements the National Climate Change Policy at provincial level while the bottom–up process integrates local climate change concerns in departmental and sectoral plans and policies simultaneously. To ensure that the planning processes are sustainable, ACT strengthens institutional arrangements at national and provincial levels for attracting both public funding and international climate finance. These arrangements can then be scaled up to other departments and provinces. ACT focuses on mainstreaming climate change into national and sub-national programmes and policies through two main work streams.

Integrating climate change in sub-national development planning

Given the devolved nature of Pakistan’s Government and lack of provincial capacity, ACT is strengthening provincial systems for mainstreaming climate change into development planning. Provinces are mandated to develop a Provincial Climate Change Action Plan in alignment with the National Climate Change Policy. In our focus province, Punjab, where the High Court has formed an implementation committee, ACT will assist the committee and line departments with the required analyses and support in developing a provincial action plan including its costing. At the same time, ACT is working with one pilot provincial department, the Agriculture Department, to facilitate a bottom–up mainstreaming process. This will involve an intensive process of screening existing government projects and programmes for climate risks and supporting officials to modify their design and develop new plans and enabling policies.

Photo: Piotr Snigorski /


Accessing international and national climate finance

Climate finance is critical for implementing climate-resilient policies and plans in Pakistan. ACT supports the Government of Pakistan in identifying and accessing international and national climate finance. Reflecting demand from the Government, ACT builds institutional capacity to leverage and effectively use national and international climate finance. Building institutional capacity includes setting up a National Implementation Entity and other accreditation mechanisms for key climate funds (such as the Green Climate Fund), developing frameworks for accessing finance, strengthening capacity for designing funding proposals and assisting the Climate Finance Unit, Ministry of Climate Change, to integrate climate change into development budgets. At the federal level this entails supporting technical experts in the Climate Finance Unit, influencing their work and, simultaneously, influencing the Government itself. At the provincial level, full-time experts actively engage with line departments to mainstream climate change in budgets and funds, and secure allocations in national budgets.

Partnership building

ACT works with national and provincial government institutions and partners to strengthen their capacity for planning and financing climate change adaptation. At the provincial level, ACT works with the Planning and Development Department, Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture of the Government of Punjab. In addition, ACT engages the Climate Finance Unit in the Ministry of Climate Change in mobilising and coordinating finance at national and provincial levels. Furthermore, ACT provides technical support to national institutions seeking accreditation with the Green Climate Fund and also brokers partnerships with project development entities. ACT continues to forge links with organisations and development partners working on similar governance and finance adaptation issues in Pakistan, such as the Climate Development Knowledge Network, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the German International Development Corporation.

Abdur Rauf Gandapur, Team Leader
ACT Pakistan
T: +92 51 285 3980 (Ext. 104)
[1] National Disaster Management Authority
[2] Pakistan Floods 2010: Preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment, Asian Development Bank


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About the series

The ACT on location series focuses on ACT's work in nine locations across South Asia. Each leaflet synthesises the extensive work ACT has been carrying out to improve climate resilience and combat the effects of climate change in Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and six Indian states: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Odisha.

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Building resilience to climate change in Pakistan

Two-page leaflet outlining how ACT has been helping Pakistan build resilience to climate change in Pakistan.

Date of publication: August 2016

Published by: Action on Climate Today

Link: View this resource,
Download this resource (PDF, 204KB)

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