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Business Recorder

Published Date: May 20, 2012

DIALOGUE ON GREEN ECONOMY: SPEAKERS CALL FOR BROAD-BASED COUNTER-POVERTY STRATEGY

A comprehensive National Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (NSDPR) could only be put in place with capacity building at district level for policy implementation to reap benefits of judicious water and land use with energy efficiency mix for achieving food security, former finance minister Sartaj Aziz said on Saturday.
He said: “In the absence of such a mechanism at the district level, we would be issuing circulars but those will not be implemented.” He was chairing the concluding session of the two-day ‘National consultation on green economy’ jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), One UN Joint Programme on Environment, Ministry of Climate Change, Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS), Lead Pakistan and Action Aid-Pakistan.
“We have created sustainable development institutions and ministries, but overall we are not leaving better future for coming generations as with present rate of increase in population the catastrophe will be unimaginable,” Sartaj Aziz.
“With solid work and inter-provincial support we will be able to fair well in achieving MDGs in 2015,” he observed.
The brainstorming session, he said, would help Pakistani team to have an informed position in Rio+20 and beyond moving forward in the process of sustainable development along with meeting social, economic and environmental challenges.
“Devolution of power after the 18th Amendment has given institutional mechanism for capacity building at district level to achieve the objectives of Green Economy,” he remarked.
Toshihiro Tanaka, Co-Chair One UN Environment/Country Director of UNDP said Pakistan had been contributing in the global development process and it will continue to do so in future as well.
He said climate change risk with regard to disasters and its impact is increasing in future, while society and economy cannot be excluded from this impact.
“We as facilitators have been helping in the consultative process including this conference which will significantly help the country for an informed position in Rio +20 conference and we will also support the country for better follow up,” he said.
He added that lifestyle of people and livelihoods were going to be impacted by a range of factors including Pakistan’s high population growth, increasing pressure on social services, slow progress in achieving MDGs and occurrences of natural and man-made disasters.
Earlier, Anjum Asad, representing National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Ministry of Climate Change hoped that the set of recommendations articulated in this national conference would be included in Pakistan’s agenda for Rio +20 conference.
“However, much more needs to be done to effectively address the myriad economic, environmental and social challenges, including widening and deepening poverty, facing the country, she concluded.
Munawar Saeed Bhatti of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Bureau Rio+20 hoped that the recommendations of this conference were helpful for understanding “our position in Rio+20 conference”.
National Consultations on Green Economy Recommendations: “We, the participants of the National Consultation on Green Economy, appreciate the initiative undertaken jointly by all stakeholders.
“Recommendations for actions at national level: Green economy should integrate and bind the three pillars of sustainable development.
“Stakeholder Participation: The adoption and implementation of green economy policies should be undertaken through an effective framework of participation by all stakeholders, including Government, Civil Society, Business, Mass Media, Academia, and Parliaments.
“Business: We call upon private sector representatives to prepare a plan of action on the green economy in Pakistan.
This could be based on a private sector white paper on green economy prepared with the participation from all chambers and industrial groups, which could be used to evolve recommendations for voluntary private sector actions as well as legislative and other actions by the government and legislatures.
Sustainable Development Policies: We call upon the government to support sustainable development and the green economy through a strategic approach, including small farmers.
“Energy: We urge 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.
“Food Security and Sovereignty: We appreciate the end hunger campaign, Elimination of hunger and the ensuring of food security are the highest priorities of the country.
Urbanisation: Pakistan is the most urbanised country in South Asia.
The challenge of sustainable management and development of these cities and urban configurations has risen to the highest level of urgency.
“Good governance: We are greatly concerned about the poor record of implementation of past decisions and policies, and the continuing weakness of governance mechanisms.
Recommendations at the international level: We appreciate the strong leadership displayed by Pakistan in the international arena on sustainable development, including in the Rio Conference 1992, the climate policy process, and the WTO.
“We wish to reiterate that poverty eradication and sustainable development are the overarching goals and priorities of Pakistan.
All national and international policies, including those on the green economy, have to support these goals and priorities.
“We call upon the global community to ensure that a roadmap towards the green economy is based on the national goals, priorities, and capacities of all countries, the availability of international financial and technical support, and the institution of adequate safeguards against potential misuse, such as the creation of trade barriers, protectionist measurers, or unilateral aid conditional ties.
“We view the green economy framework as one of the elements in the economic tool kit, not as a substitute for sustainable development.
“We call upon the international community to ensure that Governments and state are in the driving seal of the transition to the green economy.
The proposed reliance on market base strategies is insufficient by itself, and is likely to lead to greater inequality and impoverishment.
The green economy road map should lead to the enhancement of the policy space of developing countries.
“Any attempts to adopt market based instruments, including removal of subsidies, payment for economic services, or valuation of energy, water, or natural resources, should be based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and especially that they are supplemented by policies to protect poor and vulnerable groups.
“We call for a renewed commitment to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
“We call for the review of the question of intellectual property rights in order to ensure that they become supportive of the quest of developing countries for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
“We call for the urgent implementation of the past agreements on sustainable development, including the commitments to provide financial and technical support, and build the capacity of development countries.
There is a need for a robust and coherent programme of capacity development involving all relevant UN institutions.
“We call for international support for the establishment or strengthening of the research and educational institutions in Pakistan for addressing challenges of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Representatives in the conference also read messages of Foreign and Climate Change Ministers.” A number of renowned national and international experts and high-profile officials also made significant contributions on relevant subjects.