Environment in Pakistan

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ENVIRONMENT
I. Introduction
Pakistan and other developing countries around the
world are increasingly becoming conscious of the
fact that, the pursuit of growth and development
places a heavy burden on sustainability for now
and for the foreseeable future. Development, sans
environmental aspects is counter productive in
sustaining the pace of progress. The Government
of Pakistan believes in the creation of opportunities
for the present generation without compromising
on the potential of future generations to meet their
developmental needs. This notion is easy to define
but difficult to implement.
Environmental degradation is fundamentally linked
to poverty in Pakistan. Approximately less than
one-fourth of the country’s population, like in most
developing countries, is poor and directly
dependent on natural resources for their
livelihoods—whether agriculture, hunting,
forestry, fisheries, etc. Poverty combined with a
rapidly increasing population and growing
urbanization, is leading to intense pressures on the
environment. This environment-poverty nexus
cannot be ignored if effective and practical
solutions to remedy environmental hazards are to
be taken. In Pakistan, the deterioration of
environment continues to affect livelihoods and
health thus increasing the vulnerability of the poor
to disasters and environment-related conflicts. The
current cost of environmental degradation is
considerably high. According to a recent
assessment made by the World Bank (WB)1, the
cost of environmental neglect and degradation to
the economy has amounted to Rs. 365 billion
during the current year.
Biodiversity in Pakistan is also under serious threat
due to excessive depletion of natural resources.
1 Pakistan: Strategic Country Environment Assessment by WB (Sep, 2007) The latest red-list of endangered species in
Pakistan, released by the World Conservation
Union (IUCN), includes the Blue Whale, Fin
Whale, Hotson's Mouse-like Hamster, Indus River
Dolphin, Markhor, Urial, Snow Leopard, Woolly
Flying Squirrel, Brown Grizzly Bear, Western
tragopan, Hobara Bustard, Siberian White Crane,
Olive ridly turtle, Green turtle, Marmot, Blackbuck
and Sand Cat. The Government of Pakistan has
recognized the need to conserve biodiversity by
taking several tangible steps including the
fulfillment of its commitment to international
protocols and conventions. Pakistan became a
signatory of National Conservation Strategy and
Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in 1994.
Developing the Biodiversity Action Plan for
Pakistan, 2000 has been the most significant step
in addressing the biodiversity loss in the country.
The National Council for Conservation of Wildlife
(NCCW) has played a significant role in
encouraging the Provincial Wildlife Departments
for better management of protected areas
particularly national parks of the country.
Critical issues including air and water pollution,
ozone depletion, deforestation, land degradation,
lack of waste management, desertification and
vanishing biodiversity, have resulted in life
threatening ecological imbalances all over the
world. There is an increasing realization that many
of these issues are further compounded by climate
change. In line with the increasing global
commitments towards environment protection,
Pakistan has promptly demonstrated a great deal of
resilience and seriousness not only in ratifying
almost a dozen of Multilateral Environmental
Agreements (MEAs) but has also initiated various
national environment programmes aiming at
protection of environment. During the last decade,
Pakistan has made diligent progress in
strengthening the institutions responsible for
Pakistan Economic Survey 2007-08
268
environmental management at the national level
such as:
• Pakistan Environment Protection Agency,
and Provincial Environment Protection
Agencies/Departments
• Environment Section of Planning &
Development Division as well as...
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