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The Lahore Times

Published Date: Aug 6, 2013

Need for action-centric approach for sustainable dev. underlined

Deliberating on 25 years of sustainability discourse in Pakistan, Dr.
Adil Najam has urged development community to adopt ‘action-oriented’
approach for sustainable development rather than merely pursuing policy

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?" organized by
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday. Dr.
Shehryar Khan, a Research Fellow at SDPI moderated the proceedings.

During lecture, Dr. Adil Najam was of the view that Pakistan has
missed a great opportunity to transform its society towards sustainable
practices in wake of crisis’s such as load shedding. "This was a time
for social innovation and a transformation towards sustainability where
emphasis must have been on positive consumption behaviors, conservation,
green building practices and preventing depletion of natural resources.
But unfortunately, Pakistan policy discourse responded by merely
focusing on increasing the supply side," he went on to add.

Earlier talking of 25 years of sustainable development discourse in
Pakistan, Dr Najam said that public sector as well as development
practitioners in Pakistan were bent upon influencing and introducing
policies but unfortunately very little of this translated into action.
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

"As a change agent, the development community must come up with
successful social innovations and good stories which can be replicated,
and a change process can start across the society. Citing success of
CNG and LPG as transport fuel, he argued that Pakistani society has the
capacity to absorb innovation and sustainability practices and policy
makers must tap this dimension.

He shared the successful green innovations experimented in LUMS and
argued that every center 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
15 million rupees by conserving 91, 521 kwhr of electricity through
various measures and installing renewable energy systems at the campus.
He also shared other radical measures such as 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 highest growth in solar energy. Participants also
debated that there is no shortage of policies in Pakistan and the only
thing missing for sustainable development is lack of ‘action’. They
discussed that it was the collective responsibility of policy makers and
development community to bring change through action oriented discourse
in development.