ISLAMABAD: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Sustainability, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan, to develop sustainable habitat plans for disaster-prone valleys in Northern Pakistan.
Through this partnership, AKAH will collaborate with NUST to develop habitat plans for five valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral that are vulnerable to climate change induced disasters. The partners will conduct socio-economic, cultural, and environmental assessments and research to develop innovative contextual spatial plans with rigorous stakeholder participation. The habitats plans will provide a road map for all development partners and stakeholders to optimize resources and help build safe and resilient habitat where individuals, families and communities can thrive.
In his remarks Dr. Rizwan Riaz, Pro-Rector RIC NUST shared that “embedding core principles of sustainability is one of the strategic aims of NUST. We aim to align all of NUST’s core functions i.e. Academics and Students’ engagement, Research and Innovation, Operations and Governance, and Stakeholders Management with the UN SDGs thereby transforming NUST into an SDG-engaged, 4th generation university in Pakistan”.
Addressing the ceremony, Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH, Pakistan, shared that “In the last few years, Pakistan has faced the worst impact of climate-induced disasters of its history. Precious lives have been lost, millions of people have become homeless, and the country has suffered major economic losses. One of the accentuating causes is that people build on unsafe locations. AKAH believes that this major loss and human suffering can be significantly reduced by building in locations that are safer and that provide future growth opportunities.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the development of existing and future settlements is based on proper planning, that incorporates scientific and indigenous knowledge. The partnership agreement between NUST and AKAH will bring together the scientific and field-based knowledge, to develop context-specific and research driven solutions in order to create resilient communities in Pakistan”. For last the two decades, AKAH has been working in coastal and mountainous areas of Pakistan, to build safe and resilient communities, providing access to WASH facilities and offering services to build disaster and climate resilient structures.