Pakistan recognizes that improving and completing vulnerability assessments is only the first step in assisting countries in identifying and implementing appropriate adaptation options. As noted in Pakistan's Initial National Communication, there is a strong need for improving information sharing, education and training, technical and scientific research inorder to articulate an effective adaptation plan. There is a requirement for identifying appropriate technologies for adaptation well-suited to local conditions and builds on the indigenous knowledge of the area. Pakistan needs support in implementing the various adaptation measures identified in the Initial National Communication. Assistance is needed to undertake research to enhance local capacity and infrastructure for planning for integrated coastal management.

Pakistan occupies a land area of over 880,000 square kilometers and forms part of the South Asian subcontinent. It is bordered by India on the east, China on the northeast, and Iran and Afghanistan on the west. The country has a diverse topography that includes permafrost and alpine regions, temperate, topical and sub-tropical ecosystems, and coastal areas. Pakistan’s diversity extends to its climatic, socioeconomic, and environmental characteristics, which differ significantly from region to region. The country has four provinces, the Punjab, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Sindh, Balochistan, and two federally administrated territories: the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Northern Areas. In addition, the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), is under the administration of the Government of Pakistan. Each province or territory is further divided into administrative units known as districts. Pakistan’s coastline with the Arabian Sea stretches to over 990 km. It consists of two distinct units in terms of physiographic outline and geological characteristics. The coastal and offshore geology of Pakistan tectonically exhibits both active and passive features.


Pakistan enjoys a considerable measure of variety. The north and north-western high mountain ranges are extremely cold in winter while the summer months from April to September are very pleasant. The vast plains of the Indus Valley are extremely hot in summer and have cold weather in winter. The coastal strip in the south has a temperate climate. There is general deficiency in rainfall. In the plains the annual average rainfall ranges from 13 cm in the northern parts of the lower Indus plains to 89 cm in the Himalayan region. Rains are monsoonal in origin and fall late in summer. Average rainfall is 76 cm per annum.

Natural hazards

Frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

Major environmental issues

Water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification. _Sources: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) - For Mountains and People. Updated: Tue, 16 Jun 2009_

For full information: [ICIMOD - Myanmar](

A. Adaptation Needs and Priorities
Pakistan’s climate change concerns include increased variability of monsoons, the likely impact of receding Himalayan glaciers on the Indus River system, decreased capacity of water reservoirs, reduced hydropower during drought years, and extreme events including floods and droughts. Other potential climate change induced impacts  include: severe water stress; food insecurity due to decreasing agricultural and livestock production; more prevalent pests and weeds; degradation of ecosystems; biodiversity loss; and northward shifting of some biomes. As well, higher temperatures may affect the composition, distribution and productivity of mangroves, while lower precipitation could contribute to salt stress.
Pakistan’s  Initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reports on climate projections generated using the Model for Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change software. The National Communication notes that the impact of climate change on Pakistan’s water supply is likely to be significant, which would also have an impact on the country’s energy supply; 34 per cent of Pakistan’s electricity generation is based on hydropower (MOE, 2003). Climate change is also anticipated to have a considerable impact on the country’s agricultural system, with possible impacts including vulnerability to heat stress, shifts in the spatial boundaries of crops, changes in productivity, and changes in water availability and use (MOE, 2003). Climate change may also impact forestry through changes in forest area, productivity changes, and changes in species composition and distribution. As well as Pakistan’s coastal zones, particularly the city of Karachi, could be affected by coastal erosion and inundation through sea level rise. The country’s National Communication also notes the potential impact of climate change on the livestock sector and biodiversity, as well as socioeconomic impacts on health and food security. 
Pakistan is also likely to experience frequent occurrence of severe cyclones and storm surges due to rising atmospheric and sea temperatures. These events, accompanied by rising sea levels, could threaten coastal cities such as Karachi, Thatta and Badin. Combined with decreased river flow and sediments dispersal, sea level rise would mean a landward penetration of the salt water wedge within the groundwater column. This process of salt water intrusion would significantly influence access to water resources in Pakistan’s coastal communities. As well, coastal infrastructure will be especially affected. Key assets like Gwader Port and the Coastal Highway could need extra protection.
Given these concerns, Pakistan outlined a number of possible adaptation options by key socioeconomic category in its Initial National Communication; additional recommendations were put forward in 2010 by Pakistan’s Task Force on Climate Change.  
B. National Level Policies and Strategic Documents
Over the past several years, Pakistan has undertaken several policy and planning initiatives with respect to climate change, and  is preparing  a formal climate change strategy.  In 2003, it submitted its National Communication to the UNFCCC, and in  2005 it established the Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change, an overarching body that meets annually to monitor climate change trends and provide policy guidance. In addition, in October 2008, the Planning Commission—the body responsible for preparing the National Plans for the country’s main economic sectors—established a Task Force on Climate Change that was given responsibility forpreparing the country’s climate change policy. The Task Force released its Final Report in 2010, which outlines the country’s current approach to addressing climate change from both a mitigation and adaptation perspective, including key recommended adaptationmeasures in priority socioeconomic areas (GOP, 2010). In addition, various sectoral strategies,  including the National Conservation Strategy, National Environmental Policy, National Water Policy, and National Forest Policy (draft), also make mention of the potential impacts of climate change. 
In the international arena, Pakistan has endorsed all of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s declarations on climate change, including the 2010 Thimphu Declaration. As well, it is possible that the 2010 floods in Pakistan (the most severe in its history) have prompted the Pakistani policy makers to accelerate the process of drafting a national policy and action plan on climate  change. Pakistan has already stepped up its effort to claim its due share of support from global sources, particularly from those available through the United Nations. For example, at the September 2010 General Assembly of the UN, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister remarked, “Climate change, with all its severity and unpredictability, has become a reality for 170 million Pakistanis. The present situation in Pakistan reconfirms our extreme vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change.” Pakistan is lobbying to clarify and broaden understanding of the phrase “particularly vulnerable developing countries” in future UN agreements (Khan, 2010).  
C. Current Adaptation Action
The number of adaption focused projects and programs underway in Pakistan (as presented in Table 3) is moderate in comparison to other South Asian countries. The majority of these projects involve countries in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and/or Latin America and the Caribbean.  Water is the sector most represented in Pakistan’s current adaptation initiatives, followed by risk reduction, policy formulation, agriculture, energy, forestry, coastal zones, and nature. Donors of these projects include the  Adaptation Fund,  Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Italy, the Netherlands and World Bank with implementation organizations including the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and United Nations Environment Programme. The  Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) is currently considering funding two regional projects in Pakistan and other Asian countries, both of which focus on agriculture and water considerations.
D. Proposed Adaptation Action
Pakistan is expected to participate in a few national and regional projects that are presently being developed, as described below:
  • Technical Assistance Loan for the Implementation of the National Environment Policy.  Objectives include (1) Multi-sector project with opportunities for climate resilient agriculture, (2) drinking water and sanitation, (3) water and disaster management, and (4) better governance.
  • Information Sharing System to Enhance Coping Capacities of Farming Communities in Dealing Effectively with Climate Variability and Climate Change
  • Building Climate Resiliency for Irrigation Infrastructure and Agro-Business.


Islam, Faisal; Hove, Hilary; Parry, Jo-Ellen. (2011) “Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: South Asia.” Adaptation Patnership/International Institute for Sustainable Development, pp.137-149.  

Additional References

Government of Pakistan [GOP] (2010). Task Force on Climate Change: Final Report. Planning Commission. 
Ministry of Environment (2003). Initial National Communication on Climate Change. Retrieved from
Daily News (2010). Policy on climate change being finalized: Zardari. Retrieved from 
Khan, R.S. (2010). Flood-hit Pakistan seeks priority access to climate change aid. AlertNet. Retrieved from 


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GCF Funding Proposal Pakistan

Scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan

Scaling up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood risk reduction in Northern Pakistan

In Northern Pakistan, the melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers due to rising temperatures have created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan and province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods. Such flooding can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris in just a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Over 7 million people in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are threatened.

Early warning systems, engineering structures and disaster management policies will reduce risk, protecting local communities and providing early warning of devastating flood events.

The project Scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan will build 250 engineering structures including damns, ponds, spill ways, tree plantation and drainage to reduce risk. At the same time, the development of disaster management policies and the introduction of weather monitoring stations, flood gauges, hydrological modelling and early warning systems will increase the ability to respond rapidly to flood scenarios.


Level of Intervention: 
POINT (70.664062480156 30.225848324545)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
29 million people
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$37 million (GCF financing according to GCF website)
Co-Financing Total: 
US$500,000 (Government of Gilgit - Baltistan according to GCF website)
Project Details: 

The melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers in Northern Pakistan due to rising temperatures has created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Such outbursts have occurred in the past and when they do, millions of cubic metres of water and debris is released in a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Currently 7,101,000 people remain at risk in GB and KP. Most recently, in July 2015, over 280,000 people in GB and KP were affected, a combination of heavy rains and GLOFs.

At present, the country faces a critical gap in technical and technological capacity to monitor the status of glaciers through hydrological monitoring and forecasting. Current early warning systems (EWS) do not have the capacity to support the management of risks posed by rising water levels in the lakes, including failure to issue early warnings to communities. The design and implementation of medium- and long-term disaster management policies and risk reduction and preparedness plans are also not fully geared to deal with the specifics of GLOF threats. 

The Government of Pakistan has recognized the threat from GLOFs in its National Climate Change Policy and in its National Determined Contribution to monitor changes in glacier volumes and related GLOFs. The Government of Pakistan is seeking GCF resources to upscale ongoing initiatives on early warning systems and small, locally-sourced infrastructure to protect communities from GLOF risks. The interventions proposed for scale up by this project will be based on activities implemented in two districts on a trial basis that have proven to be impactful. In particular, engineering structures (i.e. gabion walls) have been constructed; automatic weather stations, rain gauge and discharge equipment were installed to support rural communities to avoid human and material losses from GLOF events. The proposed GCF project will expand coverage to twelve districts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. The proposed project will strengthen the technical capacity of sub-national decision makers to integrate climate change and disaster risk management into medium- and long-term development planning processes.



Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1: Strengthened sub-national institutional capacities to plan and implement climate change -resilient development pathways

This output responds to the need for systematic integration of GLOF risk management into the processes, policies and plans of institutions that have a stake in avoiding human and material losses from GLOF events in vulnerable areas in the Departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). GCF resources will be used to strengthen the capabilities of local level institutions (Disaster Risk Management, Agriculture, Livestock and Water sector in the Departments of GB and KP and federal level institutions (Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, Ministry of Environment and National Disaster Management Authority) to incorporate climate change adaptation considerations into development plans in GB and KP. The incorporation of climate change adaptation measures into the planning instruments will also be based on progress made at the national level under NCCP and by other regions in including climate change measures in sectoral, territorial, and environmental planning instruments. More specifically, the project will make use of the lessons learned from the recently completed UNDP/Adaptation Fund supported project: “Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from Glacier Lake Outburst Floods in Northern Pakistan”. In addition, GCF resources will be used to promote the inclusion of information generated from early warning systems and hydrological modeling (Output 2) to generate flood scenarios that then can better inform local development plans and, by extension, budgeting.

Output 2: Community-based EWS and long-term measures are up-scaled to increase communities’ adaptive capacity

A key result that GCF resources will finance focuses on the scaling up of interventions that have been tested with other financing to increase adaptive capacity of communities in target valleys. GCF resources will expand the climate information surveillance and discharge measuring network in the region. GCF resources will be used to procure and install 50 automatic weather stations (AWS) and 408 river discharge gauges/sensors. These monitoring instruments will provide the requisite data to conduct hydrological modeling to generate flood risk scenarios that will feed into a flood early warning system to enable the dissemination of flashflood warning signals on a 24-hour basis generated by PMD through cellphones. AWS and river discharge sensors will provide information to capacitate village hazard watch groups that will be part of a local-level early warning system. Small-scale hard adaptation structures will be constructed (gabion walls, spillways, check dams) to protect human lives and household’s assets in combination with bioengineering interventions to stabilize slopes slides, reducing the risk of debris slides. In Pakistan EIAs are not required for smaller infrastructure projects. The protective capability of these structures will be amplified by additional resources channeled to the communities ex ante and following a GLOF event through the scale up of already established, revolving community-based disaster risk management fund. In addition, ecosystem-based adaptation interventions will be promoted in order to increase resilience against GLOFs events while supporting livelihoods.

Monitoring & Evaluation: 

Project-level monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken in compliance with the UNDP POPP and the UNDP Evaluation Policy. UNDP will perform monitoring and reporting throughout the Reporting Period in accordance with the AMA. UNDP has country presence and capacity to perform such functions. In the event of any additional post-implementation obligations over and above the AMA, UNDP will discuss and agree these with the GCF Secretariat in the final year of the implementation period.

The primary responsibility for day-to-day project monitoring and implementation rests with the Project Manager. The Project Manager will develop annual work plans to ensure the efficient implementation of the project. The Project Manager will inform the Project Board and the UNDP Country Office of any delays or difficulties during implementation, including the implementation of the M&E plan, so that the appropriate support and corrective measures can be adopted. The Project Manager will also ensure that all project staff maintain a high level of transparency, responsibility and accountability in monitoring and reporting project results.  

The UNDP Country Office will support the Project Manager as needed, including through annual supervision missions. The UNDP Country Office is responsible for complying with UNDP project-level M&E requirements as outlined in the UNDP POPP. Additional M&E and implementation quality assurance and troubleshooting support will be provided by the UNDP Regional Technical Advisor as needed. The project target groups and stakeholders including the NDA Focal Point will be involved as much as possible in project-level M&E. 

A project inception workshop will be held after the UNDP project document has been signed by all relevant parties to: a) re-orient project stakeholders to the project strategy and discuss any changes in the overall context that influence project implementation; b) discuss the roles and responsibilities of the project team, including reporting and communication lines and conflict resolution mechanisms; c) review the results framework and discuss reporting, monitoring and evaluation roles and responsibilities and finalize the M&E plan; d) review financial reporting procedures and mandatory requirements, and agree on the arrangements for the annual audit; e) plan and schedule Project Board meetings and finalize the first year annual work plan. The Project Manager will prepare the inception report no later than one month after the inception workshop. The final inception report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board.   


The Project Manager, the UNDP Country Office, and the UNDP Regional Technical Advisor will provide objective input to the annual Project Implementation Report (PIR) for each year of project implementation.  The Project Manager will ensure that the indicators included in the project results framework are monitored annually well in advance of the PIR submission deadline and will objectively report progress in the Development Objective tab of the PIR.  The annual PIR will be shared with the project board and other stakeholders.  The UNDP Country Office will coordinate the input of the NDA Focal Point and other stakeholders to the PIR.  The quality rating of the previous year’s PIR will be used to inform the preparation of the next PIR.  The final project PIR along with the terminal evaluation report and corresponding management response will serve as the final project report package.   

An independent mid-term review process will be undertaken and the findings and responses outlined in the management response will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s duration. The terms of reference, the review process and the final MTR report will follow the standard templates and guidance available on the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center. The final MTR report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board. The final MTR report will be available in English. 


An independent terminal evaluation (TE) will take place no later than three months prior to operational closure of the project.  The terms of reference, the review process and the final TE report will follow the standard templates and guidance available on the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center. The final TE report will be cleared by the UNDP Country Office and the UNDP Regional Technical Adviser, and will be approved by the Project Board. The TE report will be available in English. 

The UNDP Country Office will include the planned project terminal evaluation in the UNDP Country Office evaluation plan, and will upload the final terminal evaluation report in English and the management response to the public UNDP Evaluation Resource Centre (ERC) (  Once uploaded to the ERC, the UNDP Independent Evaluation Office will undertake a quality assessment and validate the findings and ratings in the TE report, and rate the quality of the TE report.  

The UNDP Country Office will retain all M&E records for this project for up to seven years after project financial closure in order to support ex-post evaluations.

A detailed M&E budget, monitoring plan and evaluation plan will be included in the UNDP project document.  UNDP will perform monitoring and reporting throughout the reporting period in accordance with the AMA and Funded Activity Agreement (FAA).  UNDP has country presence and capacity to perform such functions.  In the event of any additional post-implementation obligations over and above the AMA, UNDP will discuss and agree these with the GCF Secretariat in the final year of the project and will prepare a post-implementation monitoring plan and budget for approval by the GCF Board as necessary.

Reis Lopez Rello
Regional Technical Advisor in Climate Change Adaptation
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Programme Meetings and Workshops: 

News and Updates: 

Funding Proposal approved by Green Climate Fund Board: 14 October 2016

Local Project Appraisal Committee meeting (LPAC): 22 June 2017

Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) effectiveness reached: 12 July 2017 

Project Document signature between UNDP and Government: 24 August 2017

Launch and inception workshop with key stakeholders: TBC

'Government of Pakistan launches US$37 million UNDP-supported project to protect some 30 million people from dangerous glacial lake outburst floods and other climate change impacts', ReliefWeb, July 5 2018 - The Government of Pakistan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a new US$37 million project today that will benefit more than 30 million people with scaled-up early warning systems, training on glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) preparedness and response, and the creation of new protective infrastructure. Led by Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, with support from UNDP and US$37 million in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the five-year project targets the most vulnerable rural communities in the high-altitude regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where around two in ten people live on less than US$1.90 per day.

'Efforts Being Paced Up In Pakistan To Boost Flood Resilience Of Mountain Communities', Urdu Point, May 17 2018 - After successful completion of a five-year Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) project in 2015, the Green Climate Fund approved $36 million in funding for a second phase. The new project will scale-up early warning and establish over 250 small-scale engineering structures, including fifty weather monitoring stations in GLOF-vulnerable areas.

Information in French / Informations en français: 

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Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Strengthened sub-national institutional capacities to plan and implement climate change-resilient development pathways

Output 2: Community-based EWS and long-term measures are up-scaled to increase communities’ adaptive capacity

Civil Society Engagement: 

Supporting Pakistan to advance their NAP process

  • The NAP-GSP team is developing the scope of support and TOR for the first mission to Pakistan, to share with the NAP country team and the Government of Pakistan before the end of April 2016.
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Funding Source: 
Project Status: 
Display Photo: 

Pakistan - Inception Report Nov. 2011

Pakistan Inception Report November 2011