Nathiagali, July 21, 2010 “The Government is making all out efforts to provide the citizens clean air and water and conserve the forests and the Next Five-Year plan is almost finalized with ample allocations following a historic allocation of Rs. 28.3 billion during the last five year plan,” said Dr. Aurangzeb Khan, Chief Environment Section of Planning Commission of Pakistan in his inaugural speech at a workshop on “Mapping of Environmental Impact Assessment Processes” organized by Environment Protection Agency of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with IUCN Pakistan.
He said, “It is estimated that environmental degradation costs the country at least 6% of GDP, translating to about Rs. 365 billion per year (World Bank 2006). Pakistan has achieved an impressive level of economic growth; however, this growth is coming at a price. For the current level of growth to be sustained, it will be necessary to protect the environment and better preserve the country’s natural resources.”
He said that there are two very effective tools available that can help achieve sustainable development, i.e., Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The Environmental Impact Assessment mapping is an instrument that maps the strengths and weaknesses of an EIA system with respect to how it is organized formally as well its implementation in practice. The EIA mapping can contribute to the formulation of priorities for EIA strengthening. In addition, the EIA map provides a useful reference for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
He said to overcome the environmental challenges which are broad and daunting, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands has supported to start a National Impact Assessment Program to improve environmental assessment mechanism.
He also lauded the efforts of IUCN in supporting development of the NCS and institutions like EPA, Environment Section and the Planning Commission.
Mr. Saqib Aleem, Joint Secretary (Development) Ministry of Environment hoped that strategies for NIAP project could be developed during this Two-Day Workshop. He also reflected on environmental cost of developments that could be addressed through conducting proper EIAs and raising awareness at all level.
Mr. Asad-ullah-Faiz, Director PAK-EPA accentuated on transforming development into sustainable development that focuses on economy, ecology & society and reiterated that EIA can be an effective tool to achieve it.
In his welcome address Dr. Bashir Khan, DG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environment Protection Agency reflected on the history of the development of the EIA tool and its introduction in Pakistan. He hoped that during 2 days workshop, the participants will know where we stand, what our strengths & weaknesses were while it would also help us to enhance the capacity of EPA staff & Consultants.
The workshop brought together relevant stakeholders including Provincial & Federal governmental institutions, civil society organizations, private sector, international organizations, academia and environmental experts/consultants.
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Mohammad AqibUddin, IUCN Pakistan Islamabad Office
Tel: +92 51 2271 027-34, Mohammad.Aqib@iucn.org;
The world’s oldest and largest global environment network, IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, envisions a just world that values and conserves nature. IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and developmental challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, Switzerland.
IUCN Pakistan is part of the IUCN’s Asia Regional Programme based in Bangkok, Thailand. Established in 1985 to assist in the preparation of Pakistan’s National Conservation Strategy, IUCN Pakistan has grown to become the largest country programme of IUCN. Together with its partners and members, it is implementing several conservation initiatives across the country through institutional strengthening, policy advocacy and field work. Currently there are 27 active members of IUCN in Pakistan, including the Government of Pakistan as the state member, six government agencies and 20 NGOs. Over 100 volunteers from Pakistan work in IUCN’s six specialised commissions.