Environmental challenges: can Pakistan learn from EU?
Karachi: In EU environmental policy there has been much more continuity than change over the last 30 years in which the European Union has adopted a diverse range of environmental measures to improve the quality of environment.
This observation was made by Prof Dr Uzma Shujaat in her introductory paper which she presented as an overview of EU environmental policy at a one-day workshop on Thursday.
The workshop was organised by the Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi, jointly with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Islamabad, on ‘Environmental Policies and Practices in the EU and Pakistan: A Comparison’.
Prof Shujaat, who is director of the Area Study Centre for Europe, said: “EU is also of the view that environment can only be well protected if member states properly implement the legislation they have signed up to.”
“The political challenges make the implementation more difficult for the EU is a supranational body thus decisions have been taken within supranational political system and implementation is left to member states,” a press release quoted her as saying.
Prof Shujaat also elaborated that environmental problems were transnational in character and demanded an international response.
Speaking on the topic ‘National Environmental Policy 2005, Pakistan: Disparity in Practices’, former ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel from the SDPI, Islamabad, described various policies and legislature framework constituted by Pakistani governments with the focus on the National Environment Policy 2005.
Pakistan took the first initiative for environment protection in 1997 when the National Environmental Protection Act was passed. Since then, 20 major pieces of legislation on climate change and environmental problems have been formalised.
Kakakhel’s emphasis was on the implementation of related policies to cope with rising challenges like the population explosion, pressure on natural resources, limited space and water, food and energy shortages.
He suggested that the government should revamp the Climate Change Division, currently facing a financial slash. “Most importantly, Pakistan needs a political will and leadership to represent its environment issues and policies on international fora.”
Irfan Ahmed presented a paper on ‘EU experiences and its lessons for Pakistan: The China Factor”. He discussed energy issues across the world.
“China is feeling energy insecurity due to a rapidly growing demand, using pollution sources such as high sulpher coal. Pakistan is also suffering from the stress on resources due to population growth, inefficient, wasteful and lender-driven policies.”
Dr Shoaib Zaidi, dean of School of Science and Engineering, Habib University, presented a paper on Policies and Practices: The Role of Education.
Sajjad Ahmad from the Area Study Centre for Europe presented a case study on Gilgit-Baltistan and the role of NGOs dealing with environmental problems. He talked about the two environmentalist schools of thought: “modernists who believe that environmental threat is not a serious issue of the planet, and the ecoradicals who see the environment degradation as a major threat for human societies.”
He said that as environment was becoming a source of inter-state conflicts, it was a source of cooperation as well.
Ahmed said that according to the model of Bary Buzan’s multi-sectoral approach to human security, Gilgit-Baltistan was facing a human security crisis due to environment degradation. It became a security threat “due to the absence of the state”. “This region does not have a political say in the government and institutions.”
Roland deSouza, member of Shehri-Citizens, presented a paper on greenhouse gas emissions.
According to deSouza, the EU is major greenhouse gas emitter responsible for 11 percent of the total global greenhouse gas, which adds up to 8.5 tonnes per capita per year, while Pakistan is minor greenhouse gas emitter responsible for one percent of the total global greenhouse gas, which totals to 1.9 tonnes per capita per year.
The Climate Risk Index 2012 indicates Haiti, Philippines and Pakistan respectively on the CRI list.
Former senator and information minister Javed Jabbar was the president and the discussant of the workshop.