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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Aug 6, 2013

Fixing ourselves: Development community urged for action instead of just floating ?policies?

It is the time for the development community of Pakistan to
go for action-oriented vision that can frame way for sustainable
development in the country instead of just its policy reinforcement
mantra.

Renowned environmentalist, development expert and former vice
chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr Adil
Najam was speaking at a lecture on "How will Pakistan move to
sustainable development: Policy? Activism? Action?",at the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday.

Najam, with vast experience in academic research and in the
development sector pointed at a total lack of approach of sustainable
practices in the country which faces an energy crisis despite possessing
immense natural resources.

Pakistan has missed a great opportunity to transform its society
towards sustainable practices in the wake of crises such as
load-shedding, he said.

"This was a time for social innovation and a transformation towards
sustainability where emphasis should have been on positive consumption
behaviours, conservation, green building practices and preventing
depletion of natural resources. But unfortunately, Pakistan’s policy
discourse responded by merely focusing on increasing the supply side,"
he added.

Najam criticised the approach of the Pakistani development sector
gurus, who, according to Najam, "were bent upon just initiating and
introducing mere paper policies while the effort done to transform or
materialise it was just might not their preference."

"We tried advising people on ‘what to do’ but now it is time we
exhibit ‘how it is done’," he added while highlighting the need for
action oriented approach for reintroducing sustainable development
discourse in Pakistan.

He urged the development community to come up with feasible social
innovations and stories which could be replicated, and a change process
can start across the society.

Citing the success of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied
Petroleum Gas (LNG) as transport fuel, he argued that the Pakistani
society has the capacity to absorb innovation and sustainability
practices and policy makers must tap this dimension.

He shared examples of successful green innovations experimented in
LUMS and argued that every centre of excellence must demonstrate such
cutting edge and novel practices which can then further lead to a
systematic change in society. He explained that last year, LUMS was able
to save Rs15 million by conserving 91, 521 kilowatt hours of
electricity through various measures including installing renewable
energy systems at the campus. He also shared other radical measures such
as the community bike system and implementation of environmental
standards, implying that if LUMS can implement sustainability practices,
it can be implemented in other places at Pakistan as well.

During question answer session, the participants discussed examples
of transformation to alternate energies and were informed that India has
the world’s fastest growth in wind energy whereas South Korea is
leading the world with the highest growth in solar energy.