- Sunday | 10 Oct, 1993
- Sadaf Alam
- Policy Briefs/Papers
The environment is an area of growing concern. This was most visible in Rio de Janeiro during the Earth Summit last June when policy makers from around the world reached an historic agreement on steps to halt environmental degeneration. During the two weeks of the Summit, the Government of Pakistan, like most other countries of the world, signed three agreements: the Biological Diversity Convention, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Agenda 21. In this essay I suggest that the time has come to begin to fulfil our commitments and to take advantage of opportunities created by these agreements. This will require concerted action by a number of agencies in the government.
Pakistan played a prominent role in Rio by representing the concerns of the South as leader of the Group of 77, a loose confederation of lesser developed countries who felt that the industrialised or northern countries, since northern countries accepted the primary responsibility for destroying the environment as well as for saving it. In addition, obligations placed on the South mainly involve collecting information and preparing programmes which are to be fully funded through new and additional financial assistance. While the South is free to undertake independent action, the incremental costs of such action will also be fully funded.
The Biological Diversity Convention is designed to provide guidelines for the conservation of biodiversity, promote the sustainable use of its components, and ensure equitable sharing of the benefits arising our of the use of genetic resources. By signing this treaty, Pakistan has agreed to ensure that fragile ecosystems within its national jurisdiction are protected, to identify and monitor biological components, to establish protected areas, to regulate and manage components, to adopt measures (such as by providing incentives) aimed at minimising adverse effects on biodiversity, to establish an efficient public awareness campaign, and finally to cooperate with other (regional) countries in achieving these objectives. These tasks are made easier by provisions that require richer, or northern, countries to assist countries with limited resources in tackling the terms of this treaty. Aid in the form of exchange of information -- scientific or other -- allowing easy access to technological and technical equipment or information, and financing has been agreed to in principle.