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Climate change is considered to be one of the most significant development challenges of recent times. In addition to institutionalising climate change, increasing community resilience and disaster preparedness, AKAH's Geographic Information Systems and Habitat Planning is working on Climate Change Adaptation related projects, in partnership with government agencies, donor agencies and academic institutions.
- Community Education and Awareness: The communities at high risk of climate induced hazards are provided training, education and awareness on responding to the climate extremes as well as taking adaptive measures. This includes educating communities on flood management, torrential rains, snow avalanches, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), heat waves and other associated hazards. FOCUS implements hazard management related projects on snow avalanche readiness, flash flood / flood management, heat wave management and disaster preparedness.
- Rapid Assessments and Remote Hazards Mapping: FOCUS Pakistan conducts regular assessments of glaciers, landslides, remote and glacial lakes to anticipate the risk of GLOFs and other climate induced hazards. These assessments are conducted with local communities to ensure a community based monitoring system. FOCUS Pakistan is currently monitoring 25 glaciers and 20 lakes in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral (GBC) in addition to potential landslide sites.
- Hazard Assessments, Mapping and Risk Mitigation: Hazard specific assessments and maps are created for floods, flash floods and snow avalanches. This also includes the remote sensing and modelling of glacier breaks, flood monitoring and triggering of snow avalanches. In addition, the construction of flood protection walls and flood evacuation routes are implemented.
- Advocacy, Research and Studies: In order to better understand and integrate climate change induced hazards into its disaster risk management strategy, FOCUS Pakistan conducts social and scientific research on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, and arranges seminars and conferences in collaboration with academic institutions and donors. To date, two research studies on the Impact study of Climate Change in Gilgit and Chitral, 2010 and an Impact study of Climate Change in GBC, 2015 have been conducted. In addition, four seminars have been arranged on the impact of climate change on mountain and coastal areas.
- Effective Natural Resource Management for Risk Reduction: As part of the Climate Change Project, locals at the village level are also oriented with improved natural resource management. This includes, effective water management, rotational grazing, and the promotion of plantation.
Structural and Non-Structural Disaster Mitigation
FOCUS strives to create disaster resilience through structural and non-structural mitigation measures. Non-structural mitigation projects include specialised plantations for soil stabilisation, early warning and monitoring of landslides and the removal of boulders through controlled blasting. Structural mitigation projects include the construction of protective walls, gabion walls and check dams to prevent land erosion and flood control. FOCUS works closely with Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme with the implementation of its structural mitigation projects. Since 2005, FOCUS Pakistan has completed 22 structural mitigation projects, which include protective walls that are designed to shield against a variety of potentially hazardous and naturally aggressive events such as flooding and debris flows in disaster prone areas across Northern Pakistan.
Road Safety Programme FOCUS
Pakistan is working on a comprehensive road safety programme, which involves the mapping of hazardous spots along the roadside, placement of precautionary safety boards with hazard signs, and the training of drivers on road safety and first aid. Additionally, to ensure effective responses to road accidents, FOCUS trains policemen and women in basic first aid and casualty handling.
FOCUS Pakistan works closely with the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and AKDN agencies to implement climate adaptation programmes.