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Published Date: Aug 6, 2013

SDPI Press Release (August 6, 2013)

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
activism.

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 Pakistan.

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.