Returning to Pakistan
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) was one of the partners for our first international workshop, held in Islamabad in 2011. In December of 2016, SRMGI (the Degrees Initiative) once again teamed up with SDPI to deliver a workshop on SRM at the 19th Sustainable Development Conference in Islamabad.
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.
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/the Degrees Initiative) gave an overview of climate context in which SRM is being discussed, as well as the background to the SRM Governance Initiative (the Degrees Initiative). Dr Saeed Fahad then made an introduction to the climate threats faced by Pakistan, before Andy Parker gave an introductory presentation on SRM geoengineering – the science, socio-political and governance issues.
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.
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 our 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.
- Naseer Gillani (Planning Commission of Pakistan)
- Prof. Qasim Jan (SRMGI/the Degrees Initiative & University of Peshawar, COMSTECH)
- (Amb.) Dr Shafqat Kakakhel (Sustainable Development Policy Institute)
- Andy Parker (SRMGI/the Degrees Initiative)
- Dr Fahad Saeed (Climate Analytics)