Climate change is impacting countries and communities around the world and further impacts are projected. According to the Brookings Institute’s Asia Third Assessment Report, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events in the region have increased over the past 20 years (in UNAPCAEM, 2009). Pakistan is among the countries hardest hit by climate change even though it contributes only a fraction to global warming. These impacts are compounded by population growth, unregulated development and overexploitation of natural resources, which already cause an estimated US$3.5 billion in annual economic losses, or 6 per cent of GDP (IUCN, 2009). This figure is likely to increase as revealed at the ‘Regional Conference on Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for South Asia’ convened in Pakistan by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in January 2009. In arid and semi arid Central and West Asia, changes in climate continue to challenge the ability of countries to meet growing demands, particularly in agriculture. Large parts of the Indian Subcontinent depend on the monsoon rains, which can account for as much as 90 per cent of annual precipitation (Lal et al., 2001). Pakistan is located in the north-west of the Subcontinent and experiences a highly variable rainfall pattern, yet the precise prediction of monsoon onset and rainfall behaviour have remained a challenge for meteorologists (Chung and Nigam, 1999). Monsoon rains remain a vital contribution to agriculture – a major economic sector in terms of GDP contribution and employment – rendering agriculture and agrarian communities highly vulnerable to potential monsoon changes (Webster et al., 1998). It is expected that overall precipitation during the monsoon on the Subcontinent will increase remarkably; the diverse precipitation pattern in Pakistan is likely to

lead to more frequent flooding during monsoon seasons. In addition, Pakistan will suffer from less rainfall during the dry season (Hussain et al., 2010). Figure 15.1 provides data on the historical and anticipated per capita water supply in Pakistan showing the forecasted declining availability of water due to climate change and increasing population. In addition to climate change, other complex interacting factors and conditions affect the lives and livelihoods of people in Pakistan. These centre on the capacity of affected communities to adapt, which is often linked to the degree of local poverty and inequality and to the quality of governance, which is often shaped by past conflicts, development trajectory, political instability and ethnic fault lines. In sum, climate change and variability are not climate issues alone (Smith and Vivekananda, 2007). Adaptation to climate change is defined as ‘adjustment in natural and human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities’ (IPCC, 2007). Although member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have made agreements to implement adaptation measures, the reality is that some states face operational hindrances, such as terrorism and counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan. A recent World Risk Index report ranked Afghanistan and Pakistan among the top five most vulnerable countries in Asia to conflict risk (WeltRisikoBericht, 2011). Those places, including much of the Subcontinent, where drought risk hotspots coincide with high and extreme conflict risk, are interpreted to be at relatively higher risk of climate-related conflict (Thow and de Bois, 2008). Furthermore, Afghanistan and Pakistan were identified as the two countries in Asia most lacking in adaptive capacity (WeltRisikoBericht, 2011; Welle et al., 2013). The combination of high drought and conflict risk with low adaptive capacity make implementing the climate change adaptation agenda important

but highly challenging. Adaptation is understood as a long-term process that includes structural changes (Birkmann et al. 2010; Lavell et al. 2012). Adaptation encompasses measures and strategies dealing with the negative impacts of natural hazards and attempting to address future changes in the climate.