Islamabad : During the time of restricted human activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nature has shown remarkable ability to bounce back, so we need to carry out the development activities in a sustainable manner, said adviser to the prime minister on climate change Malik Amin Aslam.
“The economic situation has resulted in slowing down of institutional structures development and a lot of resources are required to get these materialised. Our ministry is pursuing these goals despite challenges and using alternate mechanisms to achieve the desired results," he told an online dialogue organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here to mark the World Environment Day.
The premier's aide said the year 2020 had brought shocking surprises to the entire world and the most pertinent lesson that needed to learn from the crisis posed by COVID-19 pandemic was that healthy human life was not possible without keeping biodiversity and natural habitats intact.
Chairperson of SDPI Board of Governors Shafqat Kakakhel presented an overview of the situation regarding conservation of nature and biodiversity and said the basic purpose of the World Environment Day was to enable the international community, member states, international organisations, business sector and all other stakeholders to reflect on the theme chosen for celebration with this year’s theme being biodiversity.
He said the governments in South Asia had the weakest record of conserving the nature, which was an institutional failure.
The expert said the Climate Change Bill, 2017, was a comprehensive policy document and progress should be made on the actions that it suggested.
Executive Director of the Mountain and Glacier Protection Organisation and Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change Ms Aisha Khan said communities at the grass roots level needed to be made part of the decision-making, especially on the local level policy implementations concerning their lives and livelihoods.
She said the inclusion of women in the consultation and decision-making was equally important.
World Wildlife Foundation director general Hammad Naqi Khan said the COVID-19 pandemic had given the world an opportunity to look at the nature, biodiversity and all environmental issues in a holistic manner.
He said the cooperation between Centre and provinces should be strengthened to improve the implementation on the National Conservation Policy.
“We need to bridge the gaps where the government lacks the capacity and skills,” he said.
The expert said there were a few things that could be implemented with just a stroke of a pen and didn't need any resources such as the categorisation of water bodies in terms of quality.
Country Representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Mahmood Cheema highlighted the issues pertaining to conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats.
"We have good policies but the implementation is the area where we actually are lacking. Many of the departments with good mandate are resource less and thus ineffective," he said.
He called for a collaborated effort to start working on management plans for protected areas with the help of provincial departments, local communities and all other stakeholders followed by a strategy for effective implementation.
Earlier, SDPI research fellow Dr Imran Khalid highlighted the importance of marking the World Environment Day and said the theme for the current year had a special significance at the time when the people across the world were going through the unprecedented challenge posed by the pandemic.
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