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Event Title: Senate Standing committee on Climate Change

Event Date: 2021-08-09

A meeting of the Senate Standing committee on Climate Change was held under the Chairmanship of  Senator Muhammand Hamayun Mohmand, at Old Pips Hall, Parliament Lodges on Monday.

The Chair welcomed the participants of the meeting and took up the agenda wise points. 
Bill Titled: The Global Change Impact Studies Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2021” introduced by Mr. Ali Muhammad Khan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs on behalf of Ms Zartaj Gul, Minister of State for Climate Change in the Senate sitting held on 25th June, 2021, was considered in detail. 
At the outset of the meeting, the committee received a brief presentation by the senior officials of the GCISC on the proposed Amendment in GCISC Act 2013. While briefing the Committee on the amendment for the addition of members in the Board of Governors, Senator Sherry Rehman questioned on the Parliamentary Representation in the Board of Governors. 
A detailed discussion on the non-representation of the board members took place. The chair referred to the Article 63 of the constitution on the, Disqualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). 
The committee members unanimously were of the view that if no parliamentary representation and over sight is given, how will this board run in its appropriateness. 
The Leader of the House in the Senate said that this has become a shared query by all the committees and a definite legislative on this, in black and white should be produced and implemented 
The Minister of State for Climate Change endorsed the point of parliamentary representation in the board of governors and said that Ministry will support this recommendation. 
Senator Sherry Rehman proposed two amendments in the bill regarding parliamentary representation in the Board and submission of quarterly reports by the Board to the Standing Committees on Climate Change of both the Houses of the Parliament. 
GCISC while briefing said that the center was established in 2002 as a PSDP project subsequently was granted the status of body corporate by GCISC act 2013. Dr Shehzad Waseem, the Leader of the house in the Senate proposed that GCISC should share the work it has carried out since its establishment. 
The Committee minutely studied the bill and pointed out certain issues with the drafting of the Bill and recommended the requisite changes.
The officials from the Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) informed the Committee that they were addressing the issue of littering at the Margalla Hills by working on raising awareness amongst visitors of Margallah Hills National Park to control plastic pollution and ensuring that nobody is allowed to take plastic bags and edibles in plastic packing inside the trails. Moreover they are also imposing Section-144 on Littering  and fines through District Administration. They also informed the Committee that Islamabad Nature & Wildlife Management Act is being vetted by Estab. Division which will give IWMB powers to fine people directly and to charge visitors fees which will act as a major deterrent. IWMB also informed the Committee that they are waiting for the approval of the PC-1 for a project through which they will be able to procure and install cameras and other gadgets to address littering and security-related issues.  The officials of the CDA informed that 73 new dustbins have been placed along the road side on the vicinity of the Margalla Hills and 13 news sweepers have been deputed.
While taking briefing on the report of the Ministry of Climate Change, CDA and ICT administration regarding issue of littering (Including their strategy to address it at the Margalla Hills, Islamabad, Senator Faisal Javed raised the question of implementation of the Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill 2020, which had been passed by the Senate but was pending in the National Assembly. Members of the Committee expressed their concern on the lack of due process being followed thereafter Minister of State for Climate Change agreed to inform the Committee on the status of the Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill 2020 within a week.
The Officials from Environment Protection Agency briefed the Committee on the air quality and reasons behind the rise in air pollution caused by various substances. The Committee was informed that the main sources of air pollution were vehicular emissions, industrial emissions, solid waste burning and brick kilns. Senator Taj Haider suggested that brick kilns should be incentivized to shift to zigzag technology which leads to reduction in emissions. Minister of State for Climate Change informed the Committee that she was in the process of getting airtime on the state television to broadcast climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in national and regional languages so that the research generated by institutes like GCISC can reach common man. Senators Sherry Rehman and Mushahid Hussain Sayed commended this effort and also highlighted the provision of 10 percent public service message available under the PEMRA Act and suggested that the Minister may also utilize this provision.
The committee was attended by Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Leader of the House, Sherry Rehman, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Taj Haider, Faisal Javed, Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand, Keshoo Bai, Khalida Ateeb, and Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul , Secretary Ministry of Climate Change and other senior officials of the attached departments were also in attendance.