South Asia

  • 30/01/2005

Pakistani red tape: Adelay in the approval of Pakistan's National Environment Policy (NEP) due to bureaucratic hassles is likely to affect Pakistani exports in a big way. Pakistani industries have to comply with certain environmental safeguards under the provisions of a World Trade Organisation agreement. But despite the fact that prime minister Shaukat Aziz is the chairperson of Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC), the process of the NEP's approval is moving at a snail's pace.

"NEP was presented for approval in last month's PEPC meeting. Prime minister Shaukat Aziz supported the views of some of the council members regarding the lack of consultative process [in developing the policy] and advised the ministry of environment for the same, prior to its re-submission in the next council meeting,' said Mahmood A Khawaja, research fellow at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan's biggest independent environmental think tank. Shamsul Haq Memon, secretary, Sindh Environment Protection Agency, confirmed that the draft NEP was discussed in a meeting in Islamabad on December 27, 2004, but was sent to the four provinces again for discussion. According to the SDPI, the Pakistan government allocates merely 0.04 per cent of the total expenditure in its public sector development programme on environment. The staggering cost of environmental neglect is three-five per cent of the GDP and is projected to reach four-eight per cent by 2010, it says.

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