Pakistan is a vast and diverse country occupying over 880,000 square kilometers (km2) and 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 to a mostly service-based economy. Since 2001, the economy has generally shown slow growth, but 32.6% of the population still lives below the poverty line1. The majority of Pakistan’s 170 million people live along the Indus River that is prone to severe flooding in July and August2. 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