The United Nations has recognized Pakistan’s Indus Delta and other deltas around the world for a global convention to ensure their protection against the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. The move came after a coalition of non-governmental and civil society organizations campaigned for a United Nations Convention for the Conservation of River Deltas (UN-CCRD) to protect deltas worldwide, which are dying due to sea intrusion, sea level rise, droughts, depleting water flows, shrinking creeks and others.
The UN convention aims to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030, including SDG-6 demanding “Clean Water,” SDG-13 “Climate Action,” and SDG-14 “Conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources.” The convention’s objectives are to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity among Delta communities and water stakeholders to climate-related hazards and natural disasters through increased knowledge sharing, partnerships, global attention, UN recognition, and community participation.
Each of the world’s deltas possesses varying risks owing to spiking sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion from the oceans, rapidly melting glaciers, increasing dams, and shifting rainfall patterns in the highlands. The UN had accepted that all the world deltas were under threat, and sea-level rise and intrusion were causing damage to soil and water ecosystems. It is not only nature but also the communities, livelihood opportunities, and human lives that are diminishing and demand the world’s response for their protection.
Pakistan’s Indus Delta is shrinking, causing significant impacts on its nature and habitat. The delta’s shrinkage has brought it under the UN radar to create a global convention for all deltas worldwide to ensure their protection. A side event at the UN Water Conference titled “Integrative Highland to Ocean (H2O) Action for Disappearing Deltas: Towards a UN Convention on Conserving River Deltas” was hosted by the African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development Initiative (ACCARD) in collaboration with other organizations.
Former Senator and federal minister for information and broadcasting and Chairman of World Environment Forum participated virtually to represent Pakistan in the sideline event, whereas Freeman Elohor Oluowo of ACCARD and Professor Dr. Asim Zia, Director, Institute for Environmental Diplomacy, Vermont physically participated in the session.
The UN’s recognition of Pakistan’s Indus Delta and other deltas worldwide for the global convention to ensure their protection is a positive step towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UN-CCRD aims to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity among delta communities and water stakeholders to climate-related hazards and natural disasters through increased knowledge sharing, partnerships, global attention, UN recognition, and community participation. The shrinking of deltas worldwide is a significant threat to nature and habitat and demands the world’s response for their protection.