As Pakistan is hosting this years’ World Environment Day, there’s an opportunity for the country to reassess and reorient its environmental policies.
Within two years of 1972 Stockholm Declaration, Environment and Urban Affairs Division was established in Pakistan with the mere focus on the ‘brown’ environment agenda. This agenda mainly focussed on urban priorities such as water and air pollution, sanitation and industrial effluents, etc.
This brown environment agenda wasn’t doing considerable towards achieving environmental goals and the inclusion of first-ever Environmental Legislation by General Ziaul Haq in 1983 further deteriorated the state of affairs by separating the nation’s development goals from environmental agendas. Likewise, the successive governments never strived to delocalize the Environmental processes. The areas that were ignored include agriculture, land-use change as well as forestry.
Although, the 18th Constitutional Amendment formally developed some focus towards provincial environmental issues. But this amendment somehow compromised mainstreaming of the environmental action because neither the National Adaptation Plan nor the Provincial Adaptation Plans were made the part of agenda.
The incumbent government, however, has committed itself towards ecosystem restoration and has multiple environmental plans on the cards. But in order to make these plans sustainable, revision of provincial policy instruments is mandatory.
Moreover, Federal Government must also allocate necessary financial resources for the practical implementation of ideas pertaining to environmental safety. In essence, the solution to the environmental crisis of Pakistan lies in reviving the local administration of environmental goals.