The National Environment Policy provides an overarching framework for addressing the environmental issues facing- Pakistan, particularly pollution of fresh water bodies and coastal waters, air pollution, lack of proper waste management, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, desertification, natural disasters and climate change. It also gives directions for addressing the cross sectoral issues as well as the underlying causes of environmental degradation and meeting international obligations.
The National Environment Policy, while recognizing the goals and objectives of the National Conservation Strategy, National Environmental Action Plan and other existing environment related national policies, strategies and action plans, provides broad guidelines to the Federal Government, Provincial Governments, Federally Administrated Territories and Local Governments for addressing environmental concerns and ensuring effective management of their environmental resources. The Provincial, AJK, Northern Areas and Local, Governments, however, may devise their own strategies, plans and programs in pursuit of this Policy.
2. The National Policy
The National Environment Policy aims to protect, conserve and restore Pakistan’s environment in order to improve the quality of life of the citizens through sustainable development.
The objectives of the Policy are:
(a) Conservation, restoration and efficient management of environmental resources.
(b) Integration of environmental considerations in policy making and planning processes
(c) Capacity building of government agencies and other stakeholders at all levels for better environmental management.
(d) Meeting international obligations effectively in line with the national aspirations.
(e) Creation of a demand for environment through mass awareness and community mobilization.
3. Sectoral Guidelines
3.1. Water Supply and Management
To provide sustainable access to safe water supply and effectively manage and conserve the country’s water resources, the government may:
a. Develop legal and policy framework for promotion of safe drinking water in Pakistan.
b. Increase coverage of water supply and water treatment facilities. Establish a water quality monitoring and surveillance system.
c. Make installation of water treatment plants as an integral component of all drinking water supply schemes. .
d. Promote low-cost water treatment technologies at the community and household levels.
e. Promote appropriate technologies for rain water harvesting in rural as well as urban areas.
f. Encourage artificial recharge of groundwater in arid and semi arid areas. Promote metering of water consumption to discourage the indiscriminate use of water for industrial and municipal purposes.
g. Enact Water Conservation Act and relevant standards to foster water conservation.
h. Promote integrated watershed management.
i. Monitor sustained freshwater flows into the marine eco-systems. Establish standards for classification of surface waterbodies.
j. Launch phased programs for clean up and gradual up-gradation of the quality of water bodies.
3.2. Air Quality and Noise In order to prevent and reduce air pollution and noise, the government may:
a) Establish and enforce standards for ambient and indoor air quality.
b) Enact the National Clean Air Act.
c) Ensure effective enforcement of the National Environmental Quality Standards and Self Monitoring Rules.
d) Ensure reduction and control of harmful emissions through regulatory programs.
e) Regulate vehicular emissions.
f) Establish standards for vehicles at the manufacturing stage.
g) Update and enforce fuel specifications.
h) Make use of catalytic converters in new and in-use vehicles mandatory.
i) Phase out sulphur from diesel and furnace oil.
j) Promote cleaner production technologies.
k) Phase out two stroke vehicles.
l) Encourage cost effective inter-city mass transit systems in major cities.
m) Promote non-motorized means of travel such as cycling and walking through provision of adequate walkways and cycle lanes in cities.
n) Establish and enforce standards for ambient noise.
o) Establish emission standards to control noise at source.
3.3. Waste Management Pollution caused by liquid and solid waste in the country would be prevented and reduced. For this purpose, the government may:
a) Strictly enforce the National Environmental Quality Standards and Self-Monitoring and Reporting System.
b) Introduce discharge licensing system for industry.
c) Make installation of wastewater treatment plants an integral part of all sewerage schemes. .
d) Devise and implement the National Sanitation Policy.
e) Devise and implement master plans for treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater in urban and rural areas.
f) Establish cleaner production centers and promote cleaner production techniques and practices
g) Encourage reduction, recycling and reuse of municipal and industrial solid and liquid wastes.
h) Develop and enforce rules and regulations for proper management of municipal, industrial, hazardous and hospital wastes.
i) Develop and implement strategies for integrated management of municipal, industrial, hazardous and hospital waste at national, provincial and local levels.
j) Develop and enforce regulations to reduce the risk of contamination from underground storage tanks.
k) Devise and implement guidelines for sustainable management of mining and oil exploration interventions as well for rehabilitation of expired mines/exploration sites.
l) Launch National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
m) Adopt measures for mitigation of pollution caused by oil spills.
n) Establish a Marine Pollution Control Commission.
o) Frame Pakistan Oil Pollution Act.
p) Develop environmental risk assessment guidelines for existing industries as well as new development interventions.
q) Develop national emergency response and accidents preventions plans to prevent, and mitigate the effects of, accidents involving pollution of environment.
r) Provide financial and other incentives (reduction/elimination of tariffs, low-interest loans, appreciation certificates and awards) for technology upgradation, adoption of cleaner technology, implementation of pollution control measures and compliance with environmental standards.
3.4. Forestry To ensure sustainable management of natural forests of Pakistan and increased tree cover for “safeguarding economic growth and food security in the country, the government may:
Implement the National Forest Policy.
Carry out intensive institutional and legal reforms both at the federal and provincial levels to promote good forest governance.
Promote social, farm forestry and irrigated plantations.
Develop and sustainably manage the riverine forests alongwith irrigated plantation and tree plantation on farm-lands.
Develop and implement a strategy and an action plan for protection and rehabilitation of mangrove forests with the participation of local communities. Preserve relict and unique forests eco-systems.
Encourage conservation and restoration of critically threatened eco-systems. Provide alternative sources of. energy, like piped natural gas. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), solar energy and micro-hydel power stations, to the local inhabitants to reduce the pressure on natural forests, and to substitute firewood in the upland ecosystems.
Strengthen the existing forestry research and training institutions with adequate infrastructure and technical manpower development;
Promote sustainable management of rangelands and pastures through preparation and implementation of integrated range management plans.
3.5. Biodiversity and Protected Areas The government would promote the conservation and sustainable use of Pakistan’s biodiversity and effective management of protected areas, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising thereof for the well-being of the nation. In order to achieve this, the government may:
a) Ensure effective implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan.
b) Revise and update the Biodiversity Action Plan in line with developments taking place at the national and international levels.
c) Create new national parks and protected areas.
d) Develop and implement protected areas system plan for in-situ conservation of biodiversity with community involvement.
e) Encourage involvement of local communities in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through provision of incentives and responsibilities.
f) Prepare a national strategy and action plan for combating spread of invasive species.
g) Enforce biosafety rules and guidelines and adopt necessary biosafety related legal framework.
h) Establish a National Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences at the Federal level with the objective of enhancing training and research capabilities in the fields of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.
i) Promote ex-situ conservation of biodiversity through establishment of botanical gardens, gene banks, zoos and captive breeding of animals and plants.
j) Develop National Zoological Gardens Act.
k) Devise guidelines for accreditation and registration of private wild animal captive breeding centers.
l) Prepare and implement integrated coastal zone management plans for protection of marine life.
m) Develop and implement a comprehensive National Wetlands Policy.
n) Develop policy and regulatory framework for conservation, cultivation and marketing of medicinal/economic plants.
o) Create protected areas for conservation of marine eco-systems.
p) Ensure that any mining activity within and in the vicinity of national parks does not compromise the objectives of protected areas.
q) Harvest fisheries on a sustainable yield basis.
r) Protect fish habitats against both encroachment and pollution.
s) Use full potential of inland fisheries to promote aquaculture.
t) Improve quality management for fish catches for export and domestic utilization.
u) Develop and implement area conservation strategies for urban centers and towns of historical and cultural significance.
v) Promote eco-tourism concept and practices.
3.6. Climate Change and Ozone Depletion In order to effectively address challenges posed by climate change and to protect the ozone layer, the government may:
a) Devise and implement the National Climate Change Policy and Action Plan.
b) Establish National Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Authority.
c) Develop and implement policy and operational framework for effective management of CDM process.
d) Promote the use of ozone friendly technologies.
e) Phase out the use of ozone depleting substances in line with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol.
3.7. Energy Efficiency and Renewables The government would promote energy” efficiency and renewable sources of energy in order to achieve self reliance in energy supplies and as a means to sustainable development. To this end, the government may:
(a) Devise and implement National Energy Conservation Policy.
(b) Formulate and enact energy conservation legislation and audit standards. Make the Building Energy Code as part of the Building Code of Pakistan. Strengthen financial mechanisms, institutions, and associated policies and regulations to provide innovative lending especially in the demand side efficiency improvement.
(c) Give preferential status and tax incentives to energy efficient domestic products and imports.
(d) Develop and implement a plan for conversion of public transport to CNG. Establish energy resource and information centers in provinces
(e) Institute the National Energy Conservation Award.
(f) Promote renewable forms of energy (wind, solar, bio-gas etc.) at all levels. Encourage use of waste resources for energy production.
3.8. Agriculture and Livestock To achieve sustainable agricultural and livestock development, the government Ensure protection and preservation of prime agricultural land from conversion for other uses through introducing land use planning and zoning.
(a) Promote organic farming.
(b) Prevent soil degradation and restore and improve degraded lands.
(c) Promote integrated pest management and
(d) discourage indiscriminate use of agrochemicals.
(e) Develop strategies and programs to tackle desertification in line with the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification and Drought.
(f) Establish National Desertification Control Fund.
(g) Encourage ecologically compatible cropping systems.
h) Enhance existing livestock production through development of new technologies, scientific methods of farming and. improved management interventions.
i) Promote recycling of agricultural products associated with livestock production and use of livestock sector as an outlet for recycling of appropriate urban wastes.
j) Encourage highly productive breeds of livestock.
k) Introduce adequate animal waste management system in peri-urban dairy colonies.
3.9. Multilateral Environmental Agreements The government would continue to play a proactive role to ensure protection of regional and global environment and cooperate with the international community in promotion of sustainable development. In this context, the government may:
a) Effectively participate in regional and international fora to foster cooperation for protection of environment and natural resources.
b) Ensure effective implementation of all bilateral, regional and international multilateral environmental agreements, protocols and conventions to which Pakistan is a party, in line with national policies and priorities.
c) Develop and implement national strategies and action plans for all multilateral environmental agreements, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Millennium Development Goals.
4. Cross Sectoral Guidelines 4.1. Poverty and Environment To achieve environmental sustain ability and poverty reduction in the context of economic growth, the government may:
a) Integrate poverty-environment issues into economic policies and plans.
b) Increase allocations for targeted interventions aimed to address poverty-environment nexus, especially at the grassroots level.
c) Enhance community-level environmental management by strengthening the capacity of union councils, tehsil municipal administration and district governments.
d) Improve poor’s access to environmentally-sound technologies such as improved cooking stoves, crop production technologies that improve soil and water conservation and integrated pest management.
e) Regularize all the notified katchi abadis and upgrade katchi abadis and slum (squatter settlements) through provision of water supply and sanitation facilities.
f) Devise and implement the National Resettlement Policy.
4.2. Population and Environment To address the population environment nexus effectively the government may:
a) Integrate environmental considerations into population policies and related projects and programs.
b) Formulate and implement culturally appropriate strategies and action plans for invigorating population planning programs, especially in critical eco-systems.
c) Encourage behavioral change communication to promote environment friendly consumption patterns.
d) Increase public awareness of the problems of unchecked population growth and its demand on natural resources.
e) Channelize migration to the intermediate/smaller agro-based towns through provision of necessary infrastructure and support facilities.
f) Upgrade living environment in rural settlements in order to generate reverse migration.
g) Develop master plans to ensure development of cities towns and rural dwellings in a planned manner.
h) Ensure equitable access to land and other environmental resources.
4.3. Gender and Environment It would be ensured that all environment related policies, projects and programs are gender-sensitive and promote empowerment of women. To this end, the government may:
a) Compile statistics of gender-disaggregated environmental goods and services.
b) Ensure effective participation of women in environmental projects and programs.
c) Mainstream gender in all relevant policies and plans.
d) Address the environmental issues which impact women more adversely such as indoor air pollution and lack of access to water supply sources.
e) Include gender and environment” in the curricula of education and training programs on environment.
4.4. Health and Environment To prevent, minimize and mitigate detrimental health impacts associated with environmental hazards, the government may:
a) Incorporate environmental health and healthcare waste management components into medical teaching and training programs.
b) Develop and enforce occupational health and safety rules and regulations.
c) Introduce effective waste management system in all healthcare facilities.
d) Make the provision of safe water and sanitation facilities mandatory for all public facilities such as hospitals and schools.
e) Promote dissemination of information on preventive health care at the grassroots level.
4.5. Trade and Environment To avail optimal benefit from, and safeguard Pakistan’s environment and exports against any adverse effect of, trade liberalization, the government may:
a) Certify/accredit private and public sector environmental laboratories.
b) (b) Promote ISO 14000 series certification.
c) Build the capacity of public and private sector organizations in relevant areas such as ISO certification, technology transfer, laboratory certification and testing.
d) Undertake sector-specific research on the environmental effects of tariffs and subsidies.
e) Develop strategies to deal with import of goods and technologies which could have detrimental effect on country’s environment.
4.6. Environment and Local Governance Effective environmental management at the local level with active participation of all key stakeholders would be ensured. For this purpose, the government may:
a) Develop and implement district and tehsil level environmental management plans.
b) Build capacities of elected district government representatives and local government officials for effective management and participation in environmental governance.
c) Devolve necessary powers to local governments to ensure effective environmental management.
d) Establish sustainable development funds at the district levels.
4.7. Natural Disaster Management To ensure disaster risk reduction and adequate preparedness for natural disasters, the government may:
a) Develop and implement a natural disaster management strategy.
b) Establish- disaster management institutions at the Federal and Provincial levels
5. Policy Instruments The following key instruments would be employed for achieving the objectives of the Policy:
1. Integration of environment into development planning
2. Legislation and regulatory framework
3. Capacity development –
4. Economic and market based instruments.
5. Public awareness and education
6. Public-private-civil society partnership
5.1. Integration of Environment into Development Planning
a) Environmental considerations would be integrated into sectoral policies and plans.
b) Environmental Impact Assessment related provisions of the Pakistan Environment Act, 1997, would be diligently enforced for all development projects.
c) Environmental Protection Agencies/Environmental. Protection Departments would be made members of the Provincial Departmental Working Committees.
d) Strategic Environmental Assessment would be promoted as a tool for integrating environment into decision-making.
e) Environmental and natural resource accounting would be integrated in the national accounting system.
5.2. Legislation and Regulatory Framework
a) Existing environmental legislative and regulatory framework would be strictly enforced.
b) Necessary rules, regulations and standards would be developed for operatilization of the Policy at the Federal, Provincial and District level.
c) Existing environmental legislation would be revised and new legislation would be enacted where required and appropriate.
5.3. Capacity Development
a) Capacity of the Ministry of Environment, Provincial Environment Departments, Environmental Protection Agencies, district and tehsil governments and other relevant government and non-government institutions and organizations at all levels would be strengthened by provision of adequate staff, equipment, infrastructure and financial resources to enable them effectively implement the Policy.
b) A national environmental information management system would be established to provide accurate and timely information for informed decision-making as well as ensure public access to environmental information.
c) Short, medium and long-term programs would be designed and implemented after comprehensive training needs assessment.
d) Public sector training institutions would be encouraged to integrate environment in their curricula.
e) National research priorities in the environment sector would be identified and adequate funding would be made available to undertake need based research in priority areas.
f) Relevant research and development institutions would be strengthened.
5.4. Economic and Market Based Instruments
a) Environmental fiscal reforms would be promoted.
b) Trade barriers for the import of clean technologies, fuels, and pollution control equipment would be removed.
c) Incentives including reduced tariffs, tax concessions and other incentives (such as environment and energy award) would be offered to private and public sector for compliance with environmental laws and standards.
d) Sustainable development funds would be operationalized at the federal and provincial levels.
e) Industries would be encouraged to introduce environmental accounting systems in their financial management systems.
f) Special credits/low interest loans/subsidies would be offered for the establishment of waste management system, introduction of clean technology and relocation of polluting industries.
g) Opportunities for green business such as environmental engineering manufacturing and installations, environmentally-certified products and businesses, energy service and conservation companies, and ecotourism would be promoted.
5.5. Public Awareness and Education
(a) A national strategy would be developed and implemented for raising environmental awareness of the general public as well as selected target groups (e.g. elected representatives, religious scholars) at the Union Council, Tehsil, District, Provincial and Federal levels.
b) Environmental education would be integrated into all levels of curricula and syllabi from primary to university levels.
c) Establishment of environmental education and training institutions would be encouraged.
d) Educational institutions throughout the country would be supported in establishment of environmental clubs.
5.6. Public-Private-Civil Society Partnership
a) Federal, provincial and local governments would be encouraged to build strategic partnerships with private sector and civil society organizations for effective environmental management through creation of enabling environment.
b) Public-private partnerships for expansion and improvement of environmental services such as potable water supply, sewage disposal, efficient transport and efficient energy production would be promoted.
c) Sector-specific advisory committees involving public, private and civil society organizations would be established.
d) The concept of “participatory approaches and practices” would be included in the curriculum of environmental education and training programs.
7. Implementation and Monitoring Following the approval of the Policy, the Ministry of Environment would develop an “Action Plan” for its implementation. All relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies would also devise plans and programs to implement “the policy provisions relating to their respective sector/sub-sector. Similarly, the Provincial Governments, Federally Administrated Territories and local governments would also devise their own strategies, plans and programs for implementation of the Policy. To ensure effective coordination of Policy implementation and oversee the progress in this regard, a “National Environment Policy Implementation Committee” would be established at the Federal level. The composition of the Committee is as follows:
1. Secretary, Ministry of Environment Chair
2. Secretary, Planning and Development Division
3. Secretary, Ministry of Industries
4. Secretary, Ministry of Finance
5. Secretary, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock
6. Secretary, Ministry of Health
7. Secretaries of Provincial/ AJK/NA Environment Departments
8. Three representatives from the Corporate Sector/Chambers of Commerce and Industry
9. Three representatives from the Civil Society Organizations
10. Director General (Environment), Ministry of Environment (Secretary/Member)
“National Environment Policy Implementation Committee” would meet biannually. The Committee would report the status of implementation of the Policy to Pakistan Environmental Protection Council on regular basis. An “Environment Policy Directorate” would be established in the Ministry of Environment to serve as the Secretariat to the Committee. All relevant Federal Ministries as well as Provincial Governments’ would also create special cells to coordinate implementation of the Policy. Furthermore, Provincial, District and Tehsil Governments would also constitute “Policy Implementation Committees” in order to ensure coordinated implementation of the Policy through effective participation of all stakeholders, including corporates and civil society organizations.