Pakistan December 2016 – SRMGI

Pakistan December 2016

SRMGI returns to Pakistan

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) was one of the partners for the first SRMGI international workshops, held in Islamabad in 2011. In December of 2016, SRMGI once again teamed up with SDPI to deliver a workshop on SRM at the 19th Sustainable Development Conference in Islamabad.

SRMGI returns to Islamabad, Pakistan, for a second workshop after it first came in 2011. Photo credit: SDPI.

Discussing the scientific and socio-political dimensions of SRM

In the past, SDPI’s flagship series of Sustainable Development Conferences have primarily targeted South Asia. Going beyond, the Nineteenth SDC refocused on North-South and South-South collaboration, as highlighted in the UN Secretary General’s Synthesis report 2015 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Alongside a comprehensive array of sessions on gender, education, security, environment, energy, health and economics, the SRM workshop drew roughly 50 people, who discussed the scientific and socio-political dimensions of SRM as they grappled with the question of how research should be governed and the next steps for Pakistan.

Prof. Qasim Jan addressing the audience at the 2016 Islamabad workshop.

The session was chaired by Dr Shafqat Kakakhel Former Assistant Secretary General of UN and Chair of the SDPI Board of Governors. Speaking first, Prof. Qasim Jan (University of Peshawar and co-chair of SRMGI) gave an overview of climate context in which SRM is being discussed, as well as the background to SRMGI project. Dr Saeed Fahad then made an introduction to the climate threats faced by Pakistan, before Andy Parker of SRMGI gave an introductory presentation on SRM geoengineering – the science, socio-political and governance issues.

Looking ahead

Naseer Gillani of the Planning Commission of Pakistan then added a discussant’s perspective on some of the potential threats and benefits from SRM geoengineering, as a critical stimulus for the main part of the meeting: participant discussions of the next steps for SRM research governance in Pakistan.

Participants to the 2016 Islamabad workshop.

In this moderated discussion, participants questioned what the side effects of SRM use might be, and worked through the possible risks and benefits of further research. Several expressed support for more SRM research, although many were concerned at the potential implications of SRM, and who might control it. As always at SRMGI workshops, consensus positions or group statements were neither sought nor achieved, and open-ended discussions allowed participants to explore whatever topics they found most pressing.

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