A vast and diverse country occupying over 880,000 square kilometers, Pakistan is characterized by a wide range of topography, ecosystems, socio-economics and climate zones (Figure 1). Rich in natural resources, such as fertile lands, natural gas reserves and mineral deposits, Pakistan struggles to establish a balance between economic development and environmental protection. A semi-industrialized country, Pakistan has grown from a primarily agricultural based economy to a mostly service based. Since 2001, the economy has generally shown slow growth, but 32.6 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line . The majority of Pakistan’s 170 million people live along the Indus River that is prone to severe flooding in July and August. Major earthquakes are also frequent in the mountainous northern and western regions.
Measures to improve cultivation outputs and resilience to climate variation have long been underway, but a substantial push is still needed as amply demonstrated by the 2010 devastating floods. Priority areas for research and adaptation measures include the water, infrastructure, energy and agriculture sectors, with particular attention being paid to reducing vulnerability to flooding and improving water management in the Indus Basin.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities