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We really need to talk about Pakistan

Recently, many countries have experienced catastrophic flooding, but few countries have been hit as hard as Pakistan. Unfortunately, the attention this tragedy is receiving does not match its severity or scale. Many of us are too caught up in things that don’t matter, such as Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr’s marriage or Justin Bieber selling his music to a streaming service.

Why am I writing a post about this and not a project management method or trend?

GPM is, first and foremost, a sustainability organization, and climate change is something that we must keep talking about. Extreme weather impacted more than 38% of projects in 2021 alone, and that number will keep increasing.  Make sense?

What is happening and why?

Pakistan has more than 7,000 glaciers. Climate change is melting them into floodwater. The flooding began in July of 2020 [not 2022] and affected large parts of South Asia, especially Pakistan. Floodwaters destroyed homes, forced thousands from their homes, and decimated crops throughout the region. It caused approximately $1 billion in losses, which is a devastating blow for a country that had already been struggling economically even before the pandemic.

Karakoram - Wikipedia
he Himalaya, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush mountain ranges contain almost 55,000 glaciers that feed river systems on which more than 1.3 billion people rely. More than 7,000 of those are in Pakistan.

In 2022 the brunt of it after heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers submerged one-third of the country, killing more than 1,700 and affecting 33 million people. 

Photo courtesy of the BBC. 

Why is it not getting attention? A couple of reasons.

Two of the main reasons this has not received more attention is because of its location and its political situation. The international news media often focuses on stories closer to home or within the Western world, making it easy for stories outside those regions to be overlooked.  It is also because Pakistan is part of South Asia [yes, really] —a part of the world that doesn’t get much coverage—it can easily be forgotten about by people worldwide who don’t prioritize crises that don’t impact their personal interest. [Yep, I said it.]

In addition to inadequate coverage from international news outlets, another major issue is that insufficient donations have been made to help those affected by the floods. International aid organizations such as UNICEF are working hard to provide assistance. Still, without additional funds from other countries or individuals, it will be difficult for them to do so effectively. Likewise, local charities like The Citizens Foundation (TCF) are doing their best to help those affected by providing shelter kits and medical supplies. However, they again need additional resources if they want to provide further support for those still in need after several months since these events unfolded.

The lack of attention towards this crisis is heartbreaking when one considers all that has been lost and what could have potentially been done had people stepped up sooner with donations or political pressure on their respective governments to do more.

Beyond just needing money, though, what these people desperately need is hope. They need someone somewhere who cares enough about them to ensure they get back on their feet soon so that they can rebuild their lives again after such a terrible natural disaster has taken so much away from them.

But… there simply isn’t enough awareness around this tragedy despite it being one of the worst natural disasters in recent history.

Millions of people have been displaced due to flooding with significant economic losses suffered throughout South Asia – yet still very few people know anything about it beyond brief mentions here and there online or on TV shows/news programs that tend to gloss over tragedies like this one when talking about larger global issues happening today.

If we truly wish for an equitable world, then we must start paying closer attention to issues like this one – donating where possible and using our voices/platforms wherever necessary.  Our hearts bleed for Ukraine. At the same time, we can’t ignore what is happening elsewhere. Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse but they are paying the price.

Check out this news clip for a little more.

Dr. Joel Carboni

Dr. Joel Carboni is a highly respected expert in sustainable project management. He is a graduate of Ball State University and holds a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Environment. He has over 25 years of experience in project management, including government, finance, consulting, manufacturing, and education. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events related to project management and sustainability and has worked in more than 50 countries. In addition to serving as President Emeritus of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) in the United States and being a member of the Global advisory board, Dr. Carboni is also the founder of GPM (Green Project Management) and a visiting professor at Skema Business School. He is also the GPM representative to the United Nations Global Compact, where he was a founding signatory of the Business for Peace Initiative and the Anti-Corruption call to action and a contributor to the development of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Dr. Carboni is the creator of the PRiSM™ project delivery methodology and the P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management and has written training programs on Green and Sustainable Project Management that are offered in more than 145 countries through professional training providers, business associations, and universities. He is the lead author of the book "Sustainable Project Management."

One thought to “We really need to talk about Pakistan”

  1. Thank you sir for this informative post, highlighting the severity of crises Pakistan is facing. Although as you mentioned Pakistan is responsible for less than only 1% of global greenhouse but paying the price and International community is not recognizing this.

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