BY FAZAL AMIN BEG
This paper I developed in July 2009 (through primary and secondary sources) for the Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO) in order to look for the possible options in addressing the global climate change issues and effects in the regional context of Hunza valley, in the Karakoram region.
The paper begins with a background giving an empirical conceptual frame, linking it with the global climate change effects and the lessons learnt out of the anthropogenic factors contributing to the climate change phenomenon. In the second section, a review of literatures on the greenhouse gases (the latter causing the global climate change) has also been done in a brief way that encompasses the environmental risks and concerns of almost 200 years. The purpose of this review is to get adequate acquaintance with this global menace, which could be termed more dangerous than the terrorists of today’s world. In its third section, the paper, as per its objective attempts to analyze the environments (physical and cultural) in the context of Hunza in a historical and evolutionary perspective and finds out the contributing factors of the greenhouse gases, which are though emitted locally, but risks the climate globally.
In the last section, the paper comes up with conclusive remarks and presents genuinely long term, medium term and short term recommendations (proposing projects) in both forms, soft and hard, to effectively address the environmental issues at the level of the entire Hunza valley (which also includes Nagar within it) that ranges from intensifying awareness campaigns through variety of tools to the aforestation to reforestation to control over the fossils fuels through different strategies and introducing of renewable energies and the like.
Table of Contents
LOCAL INITIATIVE FOR THE GLOBAL CAUSE: COMMUNAL STRATEGIES TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS IN HUNZA VALLEY, KARAKORAM REGION 3
1. INTRODUCTION 3
1.1 Background & the Concept 3
1.2 The context 4
2. AN OVERVIEW OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE 6
2.1 Lesson learnt from the global climate change 8
3. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENTS OF HUNZA VALLEY 10
3.1 Climate change effects and physical environment of Hunza Valley 10
3.2 Hunza Valley before opening of the road-infrastructures 11
3.3 Hunza Valley after opening of the road-infrastructures 12
3.4 Identified and emerging Climate Change Issues in the Hunza Valley 14
4. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 17
4.1 Conclusion 17
4.2 Recommendations 17
REFERENCES (PUBLICATIONS & REPORTS) 22
Annex I: Abbreviations and Acronyms 23
Annex II Potential Sites for Aforestation & Reforestation for Feasibility 25
Annex III: Potential Sites for Hydro-Power in Hunza 26
1.1 Background & the Concept
The climate change is not a local issue but rather a global and life-threatening phenomenon of the time. Although, it’s global in nature, but the contributing anthropogenic factors to the climate change started from the local levels around the globe, which was multiplied and intensified by the industrialized world because of their exploitative experiments to secure mostly their utmost desires or greed than their fundamental needs and entitled rights.
The human greed (excessive desire) broadly varies in nature, and one may think in terms of food-surplus, water-surplus (for drinking, irrigation, storages at different levels, large dams/reservoirs, electricity, fire-woods, etc), energy-surplus (exploitation of fossil fuels), procreation and children-surplus (to meet one’s familial needs and continuing generations), external interference and security-surplus (by meddling in the states of affairs of others), egotism and hegemony-surplus (at different levels) and the like. These varying natures of excessive desires and intentions (greed) of humans have no fixed domain rather they overlaps their frontiers and are interwoven. To illustrate, when we talk about food, water is a critical part of it, whether in cooking, producing agricultural crops or fruit plants; for drinking purpose or to raising the livestock (for the dairy products or meat). In addition, water has been vanquished and brought in use by man to produce power and energy through large, medium and small dams/reservoirs. In a broader context, water has its integral and functional role for the survival of the biodiversities and balancing the ecosystem as whole.
a) Cause and Effect Relationship of the Climate Change
We need to understand here that a cause may be an effect of something and an effect could be a cause of other. After exploring and analyzing the cause and effect relationships we can then reach to the root-cause(s).
Climate change is considered to emerge because of emission of greenhouse gases (GHGz); GHGz is because of deforestation, combustion of fossil fuels, chemical industries (emitting CO2, CH4, CFC etc.); and the deforestation, fossil fuels and so on. Though, most of these come up because of human needs, when the the needs exceed and enter in the frontier of human greed, lots of serious issues and challenges emerge on the surface.
In brief, causes of the climate change are the excessive increase of greenhouse gas concentrations (particularly the fossil fuels emitting CO2, CH4, CFCs etc.) in the atmosphere, heavy forests’ depletion world over by the increased human population (more than 6 billion), chemical industries (emitting the aforementioned gases).Causes of production of the greenhouse gases are mainly the excessive anthropogenic activities on the Earth. Cause of excessive anthropogenic activities is the excessive desires and intents (greed) of the human beings.
Effects of the climate change at physical front we can see and observe are changes in the icescape (melting and retreat of glaciers, permafrost in the mountain regions); changes in the seascape (sea-level-rise, hurricanes and cyclones); changes in the landscape (intensifying floods in the mountains; droughts and desertification); changes in extreme weather conditions, especially changing precipitations, and the like.
Effects of the climate change at physical fronts then certainly pose a serious threat, rather cause fatal consequences to the biodiversities because of further increased warm-up of temperature. Rather already it [temperature] has so far risen to above 0.5 degree centigrade in more than a century. The adverse effects of the global warming on the cultural/anthropological level are already being encountered and bitterly experienced, as more than 30,000 people lost their lives in Europe when the temperature went very high in 2005 and get aside the financial loss of $60 billions.
Besides human fatalities, other anthropological issues [could] also emerge in such critical circumstances. Some of the issues include displacement of the communities and out-migration from their original locales/regions, economic losses, women’s and children’s right, cultural encounters and issue of adjustment in the new cultural environment, risk of language loss, political marginalization, social issues (health and educational and other) and so on.
1.2 The context
Keeping in view the severe climate change issue initiated locally but spread globally, this paper attempts to explore and find out reasons of the global climate change effects hampering over our planet. Being part of the globe and more particularly mountain regions, the climate change effects are then seen in the context of Hunza valley so that to come up with some concrete, effective and sustainable measures to address the anthropogenic issues of the environment in the valley.
a) Specific Objectives
This papers circles around the following objectives:
i. Explore and understand the climate change in global perspective and contextualize it regionally, specifically in the context of Hunza Valley in the Karakoram;
ii. Propose/recommend adequate measures, projects/programs (short, medium and long terms) to be initiated to cope with and address positively the climate change issues in Hunza Valley, in particular; and other mountain regions in general.
b) KADO and its environment-related initiative
KADO has been working in different sectors of development. Perceiving the indigenous knowledge (IK) as an asset and heritage, KADO initiated not only managing and transferring the IK, but rather using the IK as a tool for poverty reduction. Examples could be found in line with the rug-weaving, handicrafts, promotion of the indigenous classical music, formation of the Hunza Arts and Cultural Forum and the like.
In addition with establishing a center for the special peoples (handicapped), and apart from the IK, KADO never underestimated the modern and global knowledge (MGK). Therefore, this Karakoram-based development organization also successfully established the ICT4D and spreading the computer centers besides facilitating other organizations in addition with establishing the Gems Cutting and Polishing Center in Karimabad in collaboration with the Rupani Foundation and the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP).
Keeping in view the population growth and transition to urbanization on the one hand; and prospective and emerging polluted environment, on the other; KADO encouraged the local community (in Central Hunza) and formed Hunza Environmental Committee (HEC) which deals with the solid waste management.
Although, HEC has been managing the solid wastes effectively but its catchment area is concentrated in some main townships of Central Hunza covering hardly only 10% of the total territorial and 33% of the population domains of Hunza, and no mention of the entire Hunza valley which also includes Nagar). It ought to be noted that lower and central Hunza make together almost 12%; while almost 88% of the territory of Hunza lies in upper Hunza (Gojal).
The rangelands, fertile lands of different levels, almost 50 glaciers and tributaries of Hunza River do exist in Gojal. Besides, the upper Hunza has got filled with a sizeable human population of more than 25,000 including almost 20,000 native population multiplied by thousands of non-locals, both Chinese nationals (working on the KKH) and Pakistanis nationals (working in the public and private sector organizations along with the labor community working with the Chinese). It is therefore imperative for KADO to explore the environmental issues (physical and cultural/human) as a first step in the context of entire Hunza (in a broader regional perspective); and then to look for the entire valley’s perspective (including Nagar) because the entire Hunza valley (Hunza & Nagar) is an international corridor and thousands of vehicles commute and run daily in this valley leaving out in the air a big amount of greenhouse gases as one of the major factors to increase the climate change.
2. An Overview of Global Climate Change Issue
The buzzword of climate change because of the increased level of greenhouse gases (GHGz) has been in use for a long time, and its frequent focus, campaign and advocacy started in the professional/scientific realm as an alarming theme could be seen for more than a century. According to the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions—quoting New Scientists Online and CNN Online—in 1827, a French polymath, Jean-Baptist Fourier identified an analogy of GHGs and predicted that it would ultimately effect the atmosphere, and the global warming would be encountered in the times to come. Although, scientists, even after Fourier, played their vital roles in foreseeing the GHGs and alarming the humans about the life insecurity and threat by the GHGz, but little attention was paid towards these predictions and warnings, especially by the political leaders responsible for running the states of affairs of their respective regions and states.
In five decades of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (1890s-1940), the “average surface temperature increased by 0.25 degree centigrade;” and in a sharp contrast, in three decades further ahead (i.e., 1940-70), the planetary temperature waned by 0.2 degree centigrade (ibid). This phenomenon encouraged some climatologists to predict that it was a new ice-age despite the fact that Gilbert Plass, then a researcher in the John Hopkins University, had already warned in 1955 that increased amount of carbon dioxide could “raise the atmospheric temperatures” and in 1959, he further predicted that by the end of the century, the temperature will increase by three degree Fahrenheit (ibid).
In 1957, Robert Ville, a US oceanographer, was not only concerned but rather warned the humanity about their “large-scale geophysical experiments” that resulted releasing of the Greenhouse Gases. His colleague, David Keeling, after his consistent monitoring of the CO2 found out that the GHGs were on rise year-on-year. His graph known as the Keeling Curve then proved to be “an icon of global warming debate and continues to chart the year-on-year rise of the CO2 concentrations to this day” (ibid).
Concerns about such scientific findings on the climate change now exited from the technical realms and entered in the political domain and public level. For the first time, the “Earth’s Day” was celebrated in the USA on 22 April, 1970 organized by Gaylord Nelson, a democratic senator, in which more than 20 million peoples took part. This proved to be effective in terms of spreading awareness to the masses. On the other, the US Department of Energy also carried out a series of studies in order to prevent the effects of the GHGs in the future. Thus, for the first, World Climate Conference was organized in 1979 that adopted the climate change as a major issue and demanded the governments to be careful of the anthropogenic part of the climate change.
It was in1985 that the first international conference was held in Villach (Austria) on the effects of the greenhouse gases which warned the world communities that in the human history in the first half of the 21st century global mean temperatures would rise to a dangerous scale by the GHGs such as CO2, CH4, CFCs, ozone and nitrous oxide.
It is noteworthy that the 1980s turned out to be the hottest decade on record. It is argued that the coldest years of 1980s were warmer than the warmest years in 1880s. Based on the computer models and temperature measurements, Dr. James Hansen of the NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies presented his famous testimony to the US Senate in June 1988 in which he was 99% sure that the climate change was anthropogenic. The greenhouse gases and the climate change started attracting the world community when after the congregational hearings of the scientists in Washington DC, the US was blamed for major drought on its influence. Subsequently, in a meeting of the climate scientists in Toronto demanded the governments for a 20% cuts in CO2 emissions by the year 2005. Thus, the UN (UNEP and WMO: World Meteorological Organization) formed the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) in order to analyze and report the scientific findings on this critical global issue.
The year 1992 could be termed as a landmark in which leaders of 154 countries of the globe gathered in a convention on climate change in Rio de Janeiro, wherein the leaders/reps of their nations agree and signed to prevent and combat the menace of greenhouse gas effects created by the humans themselves. It was avowed that greenhouse emissions from the industrialized countries would be reversed to the 1990 level by the year 2000.
The IPCC stated in its report in 1995 that based on the balance of evidences, it becomes clear that the global warming was unlikely to be termed natural by origin rather it was human-made. Therefore, in such circumstances, if the business continues as usual by the humans, the global temperature would rise between 1 degree centigrade to 3.5 degree centigrade in 2100.
It is significant to note that though such developments and advocacies for cutting emissions came up by the global scientist community, also including the USA, but the US had its reservation to cope with the greenhouse gas emissions at the national governmental level having its economic concerns. It was for the first time that in the second meeting on the climate change in 1996, the US agreed to abide by legally in controlling the emissions and remaining within the set targets in this regard, and that it will support the IPCC instead of the “influential skeptical scientists”.
Another landmark in the history of climate change issue came up when in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol (KP) was signed and after ratification of this protocol by different nation-states, KP stood to be an international law. This global agreement legally binds the industrialized nations to have a 5.4% emissions cut by the year 2010. On the other hand, in the KP, there is also a flexibility to the countries to meet their targets partly by trading the emissions “establishing the carbon sinks such as forests to soak up emissions and investing in other countries”. It is again significant to keep in mind that 1998 happened to be the hottest year on record in the hottest decade of the hottest century in millennium”.
In the next report, after a reassessment of the findings in 2000, the IPCC scientists warned again that if the issue is not addressed seriously and effectively, the things would worsen and the global temperature within a century would rise up to 6 degree centigrade.
The year 2002 stood to be the next hottest year on record. On the one hand, the parliaments of European Union, Japan and other countries ratified the KP; and on the other, US is on the opposite side reneged by Australia, while Russian was in a dilemma to make or break the treaty.
The Nature shows its glimpse of power, time to time. Within the global climate issue, 2003 happened to be another hottest year, especially for Europe it was the bitter experience in at least 500 years and almost 30,000 fatalities came up resultantly. Thus, the extreme weather conditions involved as cost of $60 billion. More importantly, the year 2003 also stood for a great acceleration in accumulation of the greenhouse gases.
Amazingly, a political deal comes up against the KP between Russia and the EU in 2005. Russia announces in backing the KP and in response the EU announces backing Russia’s membership in the WTO. The year 2005 proved as another hottest year; and on the other, a positive move is seen that the KP came into force, finally. The Kyoto signatories in December agreed to discuss the compliance year of GHG emissions even beyond 2012 except for the US and China.
In 2007, the IPCC in a more concerned mood states for the fourth time in its report that the levesl of temperature and sea are on rise, and the global warming unequivocal. By now, 175 countries of the planet ratify the KP in their parliaments.
2.1 Lesson learnt from the global climate change
The IPCC report (May 2007) provides an awesome analysis of the global climate change that in just 34 years’ period (1970-2004), the greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 70%, which is alarming, indeed. The major sources of these emissions in percentages, Martin Khor notes, are (1) energy supply sector (an increase of 145%), transport (120%), industry (65%) and land use, land use change, and forestry (40%). Khor further describes that “With current policies, global greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use rising by 45% to 110% between 2000 and 2030.”
If an honest and effective action was not taken to address this serious issue of climate change, which is far ahead of the Talibans and Al-Qaeeda or other terrorist groups, the temperature would further rise from the present increase of 0.7 degree centigrade since the pre-industrial level. Almost all scientists have their serious concerns that if the global temperature increased to 2 degree centigrade from the pre-industrial level, the climate change would be irreversible, and reaching by 3 degree centigrade, there would be global catastrophic change. It is therefore a high time for all humankinds to foresee the disastrous scenario and make sincere and concerted efforts. “ In order to keep temperatures from rising more than 2-2.4°C, the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere has to be contained to 445-490 parts per million (ppm). And for that to happen, CO2 emissions must be cut by 2050 to 50-80% below the year 2000 level” (Martin Khor).
If serious initiatives were not taken from the local level, because the locals are responsible for global effects, then in the worst scenario, the second or third generations of ours would face harsh life insecurity because of the high level increase (e.g., if it oscillated between 5-10 degree centigrade or beyond from the pre-industrial level).
The lesson we can learn from this much rise in temperatures because of our own immoderate behavior (greed) is to give positive and adaptive directions to ourselves at the individual level first; and then, of course, at the levels of our family, friends, groups, corporate, village, region and the like. If we claim that development plans and implementations should be from the grassroots level (bottom-up) then for the sake of this noble cause, we need to commence from the bottom also by taking adequate measures against such energy systems that emit GHGs and replace them with the renewable energies whether used for our house consumption or transportation or industries; avoid further deforestation and instead intensify reforestation and aforestation and the like.
3. Situations Analysis of the Environments of Hunza Valley
3.1 Climate change effects and physical environment of Hunza Valley
When we say that climate change is a global issue and not local or regional, then the mountain regions/highlands as a whole are of a particular significance. The mountain regions are metaphorically the oceans of snow, icescapes and permafrost and the gigantic treasures of water, that change their solidified forms as water and travel gradually through the rivers’ tributaries to the rivers and reach to their final destinations: the great seas and oceans.
Being a mountainous region enriched by and inherited with more than 60 long and medium size glaciers and nurtured by variety of biodiversities, the Hunza Valley (both Hunza & Nagar) in the Karakoram mountains are of no exception to escape the environmental risks, shift and crisis as the inhabitants have already been observing and experiencing severe and harsh weather conditions especially for the last three decades. It is significant to note that before the construction of the link-road upto Hunza (before 1957/58), Hunza had a totally different ecological phenomenon.
During the winter, there used to be a huge snowfall and the natives engaged with lightening their roofs in cleaning and dropping the snows. There used to be a high stock of snow in front or back of the houses. When the strong wind of the region was blowing, the snow covered the high walls of houses and terraces (fields). The water channels of the villages and rivers were iced thickly. For fetching water or giving water to the livestock, a person used to crack and break the water channel or the river hitting it with the help of strng stones. But presently, we don’t evidence such sort of phenomena.
Glaciers retreated and forwarded time and again in its history. Verzhrav Lake of Shimshal has had its awesome effects on the peoples’ minds. This lake (Verzhrav) of Shimshal did not destroy the local areas when it burst, but rather washed away parts of the settlements in the downstream and reached the Indus River.
In one of the historical accounts, as some respondents narrate, once the Hunza River blocked between Ayeenabad (Shishkat) and Sarat in the second half of 1850s (more than 150 years ago) and formed a long lake of more than 30 km that went back to Sarmushk (a place near Khyber). At that time, Shishkat was not settled rather was a pasturage of Gulmit, the second capital of the former princely state. Half of the settlements of Gulmit drowned. The grave of Mir Silum Khan-III (died in 1824)—the first Shia Ismaili Mir of Hunza—was dug and his skeleton was taken up to the Ondra Fort (a small plateau-like place). The old settlement of Passu on the riverbed was washed away.
The Glacial Lake Outburst Flows (GLOFs) are being witnessed in recent years: GLOFs of Passsu glacier outburst in the winter season, and the GLOF of Ghulkin-Sisuni (Hussaini) glacier of 2008 are before us that destroyed parts of the settlements, though luckily no human loss came up because of timely anticipation. So, these are the climate change effects we are witnessing presently at least in the context of Hunza.
3.2 Hunza Valley before opening of the road-infrastructures
The inhabitants of Hunza valley were not aware of the name and types of vehicles and road-infrastructures rather travelled on-foot and on horses’ and yaks’ back. There were no fossil-fuels (gasoline/petrol, diesel, kerosene, natural gases) for combustion (which could emit GHGs) rather subsisted on lightening straws (at night) and burnt the fire-woods, and in the later phase using an plant-oil, called chirogh-e-tel, for lighting purpose at night . There was no awareness of any alternative toilette system besides their traditional ones which could produce manure for the crops. There was little literacy with few schools [a primary by the British Indian, and few Diamond Jubilee by the Aga Khan III] and no radio (except only one with the Mir of Hunza). There were no adequate iron agricultural tools, but few were made by the black smiths. Some iron tools of security (spears, spurs, swords and Russian guns were available, though not with all, rather with the martial-like peoples and hunters of the wildlife. There was no plastic materials like plastic bags etc rather thread-bags brought by Chinese caravans and bought by the well-off locals. There were few glass-utensils and instead wooden utensils were produced by the skilled persons. There were no modern/factory-made shoes of plastic, canvas, leather or others rather some native experts could make leathered long and semi-long shoes. There were no cash income and cash-businesses, rather barter-system within and out of Hunza; and almost all people were unaware of any money-notes, and few of would had seen the coins. There was little population and a small number of natural forest depletion (deforestation) especially at the alpine levels. There was a cold climate and no significant level of yields of crops esp. at the high altitude regions, which led to extreme level of poverty; but the natives were compliance and silent tax-givers to the princely state which further aggravated the poverty. There was politically a chiefdom system ruled by the chief at the top level assisted by his key-advisor called wazir and the headmen called trangpha or arbob at the villages’ level and wuyum at the clan/tribe-level, and tax-collectors called trangpa [this politically hierarchy ran till the abolition of the state in 1974].
There were strong kinship bondages and support to each other and no disintegration as seen these days. There was abundance of biodiversities and a high conflict between the humans and the wildlife (predators notably snow-leopards, wolves and foxes) over hunting ibexes, blue sheep and others. In consequence, the predators took revenges in hunting and eating the livestock of the natives. There was no health facilities in the chiefdoms (both Hunza and Nagar) and peoples were dependent on the spiritual approach of healings through those religiously notables, shamans and visiting the shrines. On the other hand, there were very few wise and experienced notables who could give the patients scientific medication/healing in some fields . Thus, the rates of fertility, birth and mortality were high. There was no clean drinking-water system despite the fact there were springs (though the purity of this water could not be warranted or guaranteed) but away from the villages and the natives drank and used for food the muddy glaciers’ water [till the 1980s]. There was telephone system in place, established in 1912 during the British Indian period, at Mir’s houses in Baltit/Karimabad and Gulmit; and then, of course, in Misgar, having the borders’ significance (now replaced by Sost after construction of the KKH via Khunzhav).
Imagine what type of natural and cultural environments could it be at that time?
3.3 Hunza Valley after opening of the road-infrastructures
After the jeep-able link-road to Hunza (after 1957/8 & 1962) and more particularly the construction and opening of the Karakoram Highway (opened to the local community in 1970), the peoples started learning about different types of vehicles and related machines, saw the combustion of the fossil-fuels, effective tools of digging and cutting, land-leveling, and the like. The capable and cash-driven inhabitants of the valley—after abolition of the chiefdom in 1974 and formal opening of the KKH in 1978—started supplementing their traditional livelihoods’ approach (agro-pastoral) in buying vehicles such as jeeps, tractors (along with threshing and plowing machines), vans, buses, small lorries, and in the present context specially the non-customs paid (NCP) vehicles. Currently, the peoples of the valley alone have in an estimate more or less 2,000 vehicles that run mostly on diesels and then petrol. Besides the local communities, hundreds of different kinds of vehicles (large and small) do ply daily over on the Sino-Pak Friendship Highway (KKH) by emitting a large amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
There is no doubt that the road-construction (KKH) broke the ice of old isolation to a significant level of valley (the former princely states), but among other emerging negative impacts, the road-links also contributed to the intensified deforestation of the region—paving the way to intensify the peoples desires and greed through transportation of woods. Thus, a sizeable number of the local community members not only met their excessive need, but rather also furthered their greed in selling out the timbers within and out of the villages and the region. At present, we can see that the mountains have become bared which were once full of plants/trees of junipers, birches, willows and others, besides a dense occupation of the herbs and shrubs.
Before the intervention of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) intervened in the valley by introducing potato-seeds to the farmers. The AKRSP intervened in development of the valley in 1983; and the natural resources management (NRM) was one of the key sectors of development. Although, AKRSP gave awareness campaign on natural resources preservation, but focused more on the management side down to the villages’ irrigation channels. However, it is noteworthy that the AKRSP enabled the environment for the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and in the first half of 1990s, the IUCN helped the local community of Gojal (Upper Hunza)—consisting of more than 80% of the total territorial occupation of Hunza—in conserving the biodiversities of the region above the irrigation channels of the villages. Within a decade, the IUCN—besides World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which had its intervention in one village (Ghulkin) of Gojal—succeeded, apart from the village of Shishkat, in meeting greater number of its mandates.
Although, peoples of all walks of life and all organizations working for the development have their utmost stake in the environment, but it may be not be possible to talk about all those in this short paper. Among the AKDN agencies—besides AKRSP—, the roles and function of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service (AKPBS) and Aga Khan Cultural Service (AKCSP) have are significant that contributed in conserving some facets of the cultural and natural environment of the region. Significant to note is the fuel-efficient stoves (FES) introduced by the Building and Construction Improvement Program (BACIP) and Water Extension Improvement Program within the AKPBS.
The second half of 1980s and the decade of 1990 could be termed as local organizational initiatives for the societal development in Hunza. Establishment of the English medium schools under their legal entities (Educational & Welfare Societies) and cultural forums within the social welfare act seem prominent in this period. For example, more than 17 English medium schools in the entire Hunza; and the Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association (WTCA). In the second half of the 1990s, besides Baltit Heritage Trust (BHT), local initiatives for development come in the scene in the shape of Handicraft Development Society (KHDS), later on the scope of function broadened along with the Karimabad Handicrafts Development Program (KHDP) and Karimabad Handicrafts Development Program (within AKCSP) were brought under the umbrella of Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO) in 1998, which has its multidimensional development approach which links both the past (traditions) with the present and future needs of the peoples, especially the marginalized ones. Evidences could be seen in line with rug-weaving center (involvement, and capacity and competency enhancement of the special persons), carpet centers, handicrafts centers and marketing of all those products. Besides, in the modern perspective, establishment of the Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) as for the first time in the Northern Areas any local civil society organization initiated and launched the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Besides, KADO also established the computer centers. But above all these development projects of KADO is the formation of the Hunza Environmental Committee, which is sensitive towards the physical environment and is engaged with the management of the Solid Wastes in Central Hunza (<10% of the total geographical area of Hunza). Let’s now revert to the IUCN’s Mountain Area Conservation Project (MACP) working in Upper Hunza to see further developments in the field. After a decade’s work, the project came to the end and the organizational and conservational development programs had to to be sustained. In this regard, formation of a regional umbrella organization was imperative. Therefore, a legal entity for conservation of the natural resources was brought into existence with the name of “Gojal Conservation and Development Association (GCDA) in 2006, in which all umbrella village development organizations, except for Shishkat, are members and form GCDA’s general body. Each umbrella village development organization (UVDO) nominates one member to the general body of the GCDA and general body members then elect/select their office bearers as chairman, vice chairman, general secretary and the like. Since its inception, GCDA is engaged with its missions of broader conservation objectives. Representatives of this civil society organization (CSO) has been organizing programs on the occasion of the Environment Day, Water Day and other related programs, besides attending meetings, conferences and workshops in collaboration with Ministry of Environment (MOE), IUCN and other related organizations such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Department, Northern Areas Administration (NAA) and the like in the Northern Areas (NAs). Another important development in the regional context of Hunza valley is the formation of Local Support Organizations. Since 2005, the AKRSP initiated to establish the LSOs in the entire Northern Areas and Chitral (NAC) in order to play its effective role in development as a legal entity and intermediary between the village-based Village and Women Organizations (VWOs) along with their umbrella organizations (within a radius of union council); and that LSOs should work like mini-AKRSPs with a professional approach in bringing funding to their respective regions. Therefore, Hunza valley also saw the development of LSOs as the sub-regional and legal entities to cope with the emerging issues in their localities. 3.4 Identified and emerging Climate Change Issues in the Hunza Valley On the basis of the above analysis, the following key findings and issues, for the time being, emerge vis-à-vis the environments and the climate change. 1. Peoples’ interactions in the valley after the road-linkages and infrastructures have not only increased but rather intensified at the local, regional and international levels. These intensified interactions accompanied with them intensifying environmental issues, both at the levels of physical and cultural environments. 2. After opening of the region, following the road-infrastructures in place, the rich natural forests of the valley were depleted. So, such worse phenomenon would lead to extinction of the natural carbon-sinks of the region, as it is being reported that on the high altitudes, above pasturelands, trees previously used for timber and fuels-woods have become unavailable. 3. After opening of the road-infrastructures, conservatively hundreds (if not in thousand) of vehicles of different sizes and types run within and through the valley to and from China leaving behind and in the air the greenhouses gases. 4. Different types of machines are involved in the expansion of the KKH within the valley that surely emit CO2 and other gases, if run on the fossil fuels. 5. Fuel-woods problem have come up in the region because of humans’ excessive usage (greed); thus, depleting the natural forests, and people now depend on their self-made forests. In addition, liquefied compressed gases (LCG) along with coals imported from China and mined within the valley are also in use and the latter has its own drawbacks regarding the environment. a. Because of humans’ excessive economic desire, risks are being felt that the minerals of the valley would intensely be exploited like deforestation experience before us. Concrete examples coal mining could be found as it was being mined the Chipursan. This could also hold true to other areas in Hunza valley, too). We need to realize the coal has its worst and highest share in emitting the CO2 in the air leading to intense increase in the atmospheric greenhouse concentrations. 6. Because of population growth and small amount of landholdings (esp. fertile/cultivable) in the valley, peoples are forced to look for the alternative options. These include out-migration from their villages or valley , venturing for diverse enterprises/businesses; entering in employment sector and the like. This is good, but when they go to the new cultural environment, the entrants and the natives encounter right-based issues in different walks of life. 7. Instead of raising the livestock on professional and modern patterns and with a spirit of evergreen business perspective, a shift is seen in the cultural environment of the valley especially in the case of majority peoples of Gojal who tend to keep their livestock symbolically; and for the transhumance, their livestock are given to the people of Nagar leading to various levels of natural and socio-cultural consequences of the environment. 8. After introduction of external seed-potatoes and chemical fertilizers by the UNDP, AKRSP and other agencies, the production in qualitative term increased most significantly and peoples had an adequate economic benefits out of potato enterprise. But the negative picture could be seen in terms of huge amount of usage of chemical fertilizers, especially those possessing nitrogen component (abandoning the livestock by many peoples that produced manures) has contributed to the water and soil pollutions. Thus, a trend is found among most of the peoples of the valley that they don’t rotate their lands (i.e, shift the crops) and consequently the soil has reportedly got diseases. Second, the traditional crops have also been lessened or abandoned as are the cases of faba-beans , which is also termed by some as buckwheat (baqla), barley, peas and even wheat. 9. There are still a considerable amount of barren-lands in the valley, especially in Gojal, but they require to be greened and there is no or lack of financial resources or otherwise to venture on the green-campaign and green-enterprise. 10. There is no scientific forum of the professionals of natural and social sciences plus other relevant discipline of knowledge at the entire Hunza and valley levels so that to oversee and evaluate the environmental degradation objectively and professionally. 11. It seems that there’s no specific or integrated environmental study on the entire Hunza and valley levels, which could pave the way for an adequate integrated environmental development program. 4. Conclusion and Recommendations 4.1 Conclusion The bottom-line of this situations’ analysis ( situations before and after the road-communication system) is that when there was no road-infrastructures, there were no vehicles, no more greenhouse gas emissions; no other livelihood strategies other than agro-pastoralism, no usage of chemical fertilizers; little educational and health facilities, more fertility, more birth and more mortality rates; no more interactions with other worlds, no formal businesses, no cash system, no tourism influx; little democratic values, little part of women in decision making; no awareness of nature’s conservation and more hunting of the wildlife; small population size, little deforestation of the natural forests; little amount of landholdings in central and lower Hunza and more poverty; more landholdings in upper Hunza, more economic production units, more tax-payers and more poverty again. Furthermore, there was very little pollution with little opportunities with little population size, although deforestation was there. But after the construction of the road-link for the first time from Gilgit to Hunza in the 1950s, and more particularly the KKH in the 1970s and then the link-roads connecting the sub-valleys and villages to the KKH, there came up more organizational interventions, more economic opportunities, intensified or multiplications of human desires, reduced poverty; high literacy rate, more vehicular traffics, more rapid travels with high risks of life security, more greenhouse gas emissions, more deforestation, controlled mortality, controlled birth, reduced fertility and prolonged aging; more population and more resources utilization; more interaction, more tourism influx, more cash businesses; reduced livestock, reduced manure, reduced organic foods; reduced agro-pastoral activities; more education, high literacy late, more competition, more unemployment; banned hunting of the wildlife, more ibexes, more blues sheep and more predators (even seen on the KKH); little arrangement marriages, more love/understanding marriages, and the like. In conclusion, keeping in view the analysis (comparative situations), Hunza valley is encountering and facing harsh environmental pressure never experienced in its history, both in terms of physical and cultural environments; and it is a high time for all stakeholders including communities, leaders, students and organizations to adequately address the this global issue of climate change through local initiatives and contribute their due roles to our mother, the Earth. If our roof (atmosphere) is being heated but rather I must say being burnt by ourselves, then we cannot expect for the prosperous future to us and our coming generations and the entire biodiversities. 4.2 Recommendations If KADO could venture for the unique initiatives like bridging the indigenous knowledge to the modern in practical term, and could initiate for the ICT4D (and those projects proved to be landmarks at least in the whole Gilgit-Baltistan region), then it [KADO] can also take bold steps in addressing pressing the global environmental crisis at least in its own areas of jurisdiction. However, on the basis of the above analysis, recommendations are made hereunder regarding the environment (both physical and cultural/human) and the climate change effects. By category and as a strategy, one is at soft level (hitting the human minds) in the target area; second is the at the hard or practical level (hitting the ground) in the target area; and third is at the procedural level to meet and mange the first and second category. a) At soft level: building capacity and competency Here soft level stands for “mind-to-mind relationships”, or “thoughts and words that hit the minds”. So, words and thoughts are the soft-forms in contrast with any physical or material shape. As a strategy, it would, therefore, be necessary to firstly spread full awareness and build capacities of the community members at different levels so that they should be sensitive and should learn that the climate change has become very dangerous—hampering upon their heads like a sharpened sword—to their and their generations’ lives; and to emphasize that the climate change has becomes so, because we (community members) are enemy of ourselves. In brief, the following strategies would, however, need to be taken to address the subtle issues of the climate change. 1. Without any further delay, KADO, as a regionally professional organization, should intensely sensitize the environmental issues (causing the climate change) to the local communities by organizing a regional seminar/conference; and more particularly LSO-based workshops (of one-day each) in the entire Hunza. 2. Studies need to be carried out on the environmental shifts and effects of the climate change on the local population of Hunza valley so that to collect more in-depth indigenous knowledge and perspectives to combat the climate change effects. 3. All educational and health institutions in Hunza need to be target with regard to the environmental issues. 4. Annual Environmental Festivals (ideally on Environmental Day on June 5, or a day later or before) in broader context and in multiple media (all local languages along with Urdu and English) should be initiated and organized or sponsored by KADO in partnership with other local and regional civil society organizations such as Naunihal Development Organization (NDO), Gojal Conservation and Development Association, Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association, Hunza Arts and Cultural Forum and any umbrella organization of Shinaki (lower Hunza). Contents of the festivals could vary which could include environmental songs and poetical contests, debates, cartoons, drawings, skits, dramas, musical concerts and the like. 5. Organizational Partnerships on the Environment and Climate Change need to be established between KADO and other organizations out of Hunza valley. The organization on the issue could be the public sector, NGOs, private sector and especially UN agencies. 6. Awareness regarding travels need to be given that peoples prefer using more public transport than their personal or private vehicles. 7. Time to time capacity building programs need to be organized especially for the drivers’ community regarding the dangerous gases emissions by their vehicles. Likewise, targeting the commercial and residential centers is also very important. b) At hard/physical & strategic level: build partnerships and hit the grounds When the human minds (at soft-level) are prepared (fully awareness raised and capacity built), then more effective steps need to taken at physical or material level to hit the ground by addressing the environmental issues effecting the global climate change. In this regard, the following sustainable actions are imperative to be taken. 1. Aforestation and reforestation against deforestation is the need of the time without any further delay. The local communities, after building their capacity and competency, could be mobilized towards reforestation on the rangelands/highlands as well as down to the barren-lands. Those alpine plants/trees, which have been cut with the course of time, could be replanted such as juniper, birches, willows and the like. 2. Besides the indigenous alpine trees and plants, non-indigenous alpine plants and trees could also be introduced and experimented on the highlands. 3. There are many potential places/barren-lands in Gojal, the largest magistracy of Gilgit-Baltistan in geographical term, possessing more than 10,000 sq km of territorial domain and almost 88% of the total of Hunza. Therefore, water channels are compulsory to be constructed with the help of the international donor and environmental agencies. In doing so, great number of the mountain and barren-lands will be greened by alpine plantation (see sites of potential barren-lands for afroestaion and reforestation in the annex). 4. Gojal, being the backbone of Hunza, has potentiality in generating power as a renewable energy. Micro hydro-powers need to be constructed and KADO could venture in framing proposals on this subject. This will, on the one hand, fulfill the energy requirement of the region; and on the other, through motors, water could be lifted to the high altitude to water the reforested regions (see the annex for the potential sites of the hydro-powers). 5. Besides hydro-powers, there is also a great potential to opt for other renewable energy resources such as wind-energy, sunlight/solar energy and the like. It is very important that KADO should initiate in this sector. 6. A practical step needs to be taken to address the environmental pollutions in Gulmit, Sost and Passu because the physical and cultural environments in these places are under bitter pressure deteriorating mainly because of the Chinese workers and the Pakistani labor forces. The water pollution, air pollution, sound pollution, cultural pollution and the like are on the increase. 7. In collaboration with the leaders (political and civil society), professionals, government servants and other environmental activists, a bold step needs to be taken against the fossil fuel emissions. a. Legal action and control over the worst emission of smokes released from the vehicles. b. Chemical fertilizers, especially those emitting greenhouse gases and used by the farmers need to be discouraged. c. Vehicles running on the petrol/gasoline must be discouraged within the valley; and also there should be restriction on the gasoline vehicles/cars entering in the Hunza valley. d. Burning of coals in different parts of Hunza must be discouraged. Coal mining in Hunza and its import form China must be banned entering in the region. In this regard, KADO and NDO, being strong professional civil society organizations, could at least influence the local and regional governments in general, and the so-called political leaders in particular. 8. A commission/forum of the professionals on the Environment (both Physical and Cultural) at the level of entire Hunza valley (also including Nagar) need to be formed promptly in order to monitor and professionally asses the emerging environmental issues in the valley. For examples, this forum could be name as Hunza-Nagar Environmental Commission (HNEC) with a broad and powerful mandate. 9. Projects (long, medium and short term) should be designed after holding a series of workshops with the regional level CSOs and the LSOs. It would provide a more clear picture in devising the projects/programs. 10. Special partnership and collaboration would be required to be made with the AKRSP and other relevant but visionary organizations vis-à-vis the “Carbon Trading” and “Carbon Sink” Projects. 11. Special environmental partnership in the near future is need of the time on the environmental issues at the entire Hunza valley level between KADO and NDO being the regional level civil society organizations; and both these organizations (KADO and NDO) must prove themselves to be the umbrellas for the sub-regional level CSOs in having close coordination and collaboration with them. 12. Environmental Committees need to be made keeping in view the transport sector, commercial sector and residential sector. These committees could be also made within the VWOs and LSOs. 13. The software of International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEIs) could be brought in use in order to collect and assess the environmental statuses (degradation or amelioration). 14. A baseline greenhouse inventory of the valley would be important to be conducted in the near future. In this regard, with the help of the technical peoples, a proposal should be written. 15. KADO needs to write an environmental strategy paper for development. 16. All those projects and programs that are on function, or those which are supposed to be proposed for the region, must contain adequate environmental risk calculation. 17. An experiment needs to done on pilot phase with regard to the electricity light by switching “from regular incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs” which is “one of the most effective and easy ways to reduce CO2-equivalent emissions. The assumptions here are that 100 watt incandescent bulbs run for 10,000 hours and use 1,000 kWh, and that a CFL bulb of 23 watts (equivalent lighting) runs for 10,000 hours and uses 230 kWh, the actual energy savings over 10,000 hours (approximate lifetime of CFL) equals 770 kWh, and that the price of residential electricity is $0.0966 per kWh. Each 100 watt incandescent bulb that is replaced with an equivalently lighting 23 watt CFL thus results in 1 ton of CO2-equivalent emissions reduction”. Other reductions (Mark Lemon et al., n.d., Indiana: p.18). 18. The climate change is also a strong human right issue. Therefore, KADO and NDO in the Hunza Valley should play their invigorating and committed role in planning, designing, implementing/launching of, monitoring and evaluating the relevant programs and projects; and coordinate and collaborate with, advocate for and facilitate other CSOs to jointly combat this life-threatening issue with a holistic/integrated approach. 19. ONE of the most relevant and strong sub-regional level CSO is Gojal Conservation and Development Association (GCDA). KADO needs to development a very strong partnership with regard to the upcoming developmental projects/programs. If the conservancies in Gojal could in partnership with IUCN successfully bring the projects and programs in the region, then there is no point that GCDA, as an umbrella organization of the all conservancies, does not partner in successfully bringing to the end the projects/programs of KADO, which is in logic an umbrella for all CSOs in Hunza. References (Publications & Reports) Commission for European Communities. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, 2006, 2007. Fazal Amin Beg. In Search of Historical Heritages in Gojal Hunza: A Survey and Introductory Report of the Cultural Sites. 2001. Friedbert, Otacher, Impact of Tourism on Hunza Valley. University of Vienna, Austria, 1998. Government of Pakistan, Northern Areas Administration. State Environment & Development. IUCN-Pakistan, 2003. Government of Pakistan, Northern Areas Administration, and IUCN-Pakistan. Northern Areas Strategy for Sustainable Development, Gilgit, 2003. House of Commons. Personal Carbon Trading. Iman Nadeem. Tourism Promotion in Northern Areas: Suggestions and Recommendations. 2004. IPCC. After Ten Years, 2007. Jim Fuller. US Companies and States Launch Initatives to Combat Climate Change. US Department of State, Washington, July 2003. Linda Starke (ed.). Where we are? Where we should be? And how to get there? (Pakistan National Conservation Strategy), IUCN, Pakistan, Karachi, 1995. Leong, Goh Cheng. New Oxford Progressive Geography. Oxford University Press, 1970, 1974, 1983. Mervyn L. Tano. Indian Tribes and Climate Change: A Historical Perspective. International Institute for Indigenous Resources Management, Colorado. National Teach-In Global Warming Solutions. Understanding the Global Warming. Planning and Development Department. Annual Development Program (2006-7) Richard Denman. Guidelines for Community-based Ecotourism Development. WWF-International, 2001. Susan A Crate. & Mark Nuttall. Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions; Walnut Creek, CA, 2009. UNFCCC. Different reports were gone through. Zulfiqar Ali Khan et al. (ed.). Karakoram Knowledge Highway. KADO, June 2009. Annex I: Abbreviations and Acronyms AKCSP Aga Khan Cultural Service, Pakistan AKBPS Aga Khan Building and Planning Service AKDN Aga Khan Development Networks AKRSP Aga Khan Rural Support Program BACIP Building and Construction Improvement Program CFC Chloro-floro-Carbon CH4 Methane Gas CO2 Carbon dioxide EPA Environmental Protection Agency EU European Union GCDA Gojal Conservation and Development Association GHG Greenhouse Gas GHGs Greenhouse Gases HACF Hunza Arts and Cultural Forum HEC Hunza Environmental Committee IK Indigenous Knowledge IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IUCN Internal Union of Conservation of Nature/World Conservation Union KADO Karakoram Area Development Organization KHDP Karimabad Handicrafts Development Project KHDS Karakoram Handicrafts Development Society KP Kiyoto Protocol MACP Mountain Area Conservancy Project MOE Ministry of Environment [Pakistan] NAs Northern Areas NAA Northern Areas Administration NAFD Northern Areas Forest Department ppm Parts per million UN United Nations UNEP United Nations Environmental Program UNFCCC United Nations Convention on Climate Change US United States WASEP Water & Extension Improvement Program WMO World Meteorological Organization WTCA Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association WWF World Wide Fund for Nature Annex II Potential Sites for Aforestation & Reforestation for Feasibility 1. Shinaki (Lower Hunza) a. Rangelands and low-level brren-lands of Shinak region (needs to be investigated specifically) 2. Central Hunza a. Rangelands/pasturelands in Central Hunza b. Dongdas (barren-land where the solid wastes are decomposed/filled in). 3. Goal (Upper Hunza) a. Lower Gojal i. Pasturelands: Ghawuesh, Burudubar, Baltbar, Biltdihel, Shuetuebar, Zhrav (of in both Gulmit & Ghulkin), Putundas, Buetuer (in both Hussaini and Passu). ii. Barren-lands & semi-settled areas: Buelchidas, Buelbuel Keshk, Chatghust, Borit, Shighardigh, Qunghust, Zarabod, Khuramabod, Jonabod. b. Shimshal valley (the biggest geographical area in Hunza valley): All five settlements having vast barren-lands (enormous deforestations have come up), other potential sites including Shimshal Pamir. c. Avgarch Valley i. Sir (a long flat strip of barren-land above Jamalabad that stretches up to top of Avgarch/Gircha; rangelands of Piryar and Boybar, Ghuvdan etc. ii. Barren-lands of Khudabad and the Shimizhrav rangelands d. Chipursan Valley i. Barrenlands starting from the confluence of Chipursan and Misgar-Khuzhrav Rivers going up to the Rishipzhrav and Kundahel; Yarzrichsar & Lupghar proceeding ahead to Chipursan and all the rangelands; barrend-lands of Rvay-e Zhuy (lake of Rvay), Kim Kut, Dhan Kut etc reaching Bobo Ghundi Oston and above. e. Misgar Valley i. The barren-lands starting from the entry-point of the valley reaching to the settlement; the rangelands of Misgar, Mintaka, Kilik, other sub-valleys. f. Khunzhrav valley: the rangelands such as Qarachananay, Ghuewzhrav and others. Annex III: Potential Sites for Hydro-Power in Hunza Hunza has a great potential for the hydro-energy that could contribute in fulfilling the energy requirements and more particularly used for the forestation campaign (carbon-sinks). The following sites could be identified initially, but then it would be the tasks of the technical professionals to look them in terms of feasibility. 1. Different sites in Shimshal valley on the Shimshal river. 2. Different sites in Misgar valley on the Misger river. 3. Different sites in Chipursan valley on the Chipursan river. 4. Different sites in Khunzhrav valley on the Khunzhrv river. 5. Piryar and Boybar of Avgarch valley on the Avgarch River. Other Renewable Energy Sources Hunza valley as a whole is conducive for the Wind and Solar energy, too. Technical investigations need to done in this field and projects could be proposed. Environmental Issues in Hunza 1. Deforestation and energy issue 2. Water pollution in the Hunza River and the environmental issue 3. Issue of the wildlife conservation in some parts of Gojal 4. Issue of “restoring/improving the rangelands 5. Issue in Cultural Environment 6. Issue maintain soils in the cropland 7. Issue of the solid wastes 8. Issue of organic wastes 9. Automobile Workshops 10. Burning the tires during the any jubilant programs
An insightful morning read. Thoroughly enjoyed the concept and content. The recommendations need to be taken up by the civil society as goals for sustainable environment.