Pakistan desperately needs to head towards green economy
STAFF REPORT IBD: While stressing for integrated efforts on the part of the international community, the recently held two-day national consultation on Green Economy has come up recommending binding the three pillars of sustainable development – social equality, economic prosperity and environmental conservation for sustainable growth and green economy.
The participants of the consultations highlighted the urgent challenges of sustainable development and stimulating s strong and sustainable growth process in Pakistan.
The national consultation on Green Economy was organized jointly by the Ministry of Climate Change, the One-UN Joint Programme on Environment, SDPI, LEAD Pakistan and Heinrich Boell Stiftung. The objective of the event was to enable a broader spectrum of stakeholders to share perspectives and information on the green economy, compile recommendations for the Rio+20 process, and identify actions that could be undertaken by the government of Pakistan by the Pakistani civil society, business, media and academia, and by the international community in this regard.
The consultations were attended by over 100 representatives from government ministries and agencies, UN as well as civil societys representatives, business, academia and parliamentarians.
While there was no consensus on the definition of the green economy, most of the participants viewed it as an instrument for facilitating the transition towards sustainable development within Pakistan.
Amid the persistent energy crisis in the country, the participants were of the strong view that Pakistan has a great potential to produce electricity through alternative sources of energy like coal, wind, solar and waste-to-energy and also called for urgent action to ensure universal access to modern, sustainable and affordable energy services by all segments of the society, especially the poor and marginalized groups.
In order to benefit from this potential, it was necessary to establish a level-playing field based on a clear and transparent policy framework, including for instance the feed-in-tariff to the national efforts to provide safe, affordable, and adequate energy services in all parts of the country.
But at the same time, there are also some recommendations that Pakistan need to seek cleaner technology for conventional energy sources, including clean coal, carbon capture and storage, and carbon offset, and establish national clean energy research centre and supporting centres in major universities.
The rural economy has turned up as a potent mean of strong economy and in Pakistan it was necessary to ensure promotion of sustainable rural development including investment in sustainable agriculture, support for small and landless farmers, especially women farmers, and integrated rural development programmes.
However, on the other hand the government has responsibility to undertake reforms and policies for sustainable urban development, vertical development to limit urban sprawl, creation of second tier cities, definition of city limits, sustainable transport systems based on public transport instead of proliferation of private transport, effective waste management, energy efficient building design, and good governance.
The consultation meeting was of the strong view that good governance has proved itself as cornerstone of progress of a state and Pakistan badly needs to evolve some mechanism of good governance to ensure sustainable progress and enhance the performance of state institutions and departments.
“For the purpose, this challenge requires the patronage and support from the highest level of the political leadership of the country,” a participant remarked adding, however, it is fundamentally important that the pursuit of sustainable development and the green economy is based on the principles of transparency.
The consultations also focused on a point that poverty eradication and sustainable development are the overarching goals and priorities of Pakistan. All national and international policies have to support Pakistan in achieving these goals and priorities.