Better coordination between federal and provincial environment agencies is needed to develop efficient mitigation plans to deal with the environmental crises in the country.
These were the views expressed by participants at a meeting on post-18th Amendment coordination issues at the Climate Change Division (CCD) in Islamabad on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by CCD representatives, provincial environment departments, Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Global Chance Impact Study Centre, National Disaster Management Authority and the International Union for Conservation Network.
The subject of environment was devolved to the provinces as a result of the 18th Amendment, making the provincial governments responsible for formulating and enforcing environmental laws. In the present set-up, the CCD and Pak-EPA look after environmental issues at the federal level while provincial environment departments do the same at the provincial level.
Participants agreed to hold quarterly meetings to review environment and climate change coordination efforts including the implementation of relevant policies.
Policies formulated by the CCD, such as the National Climate Change Policy, cannot be termed effective unless provincial environment departments cooperate on the implementation.
The CCD also has to report back to the international community on the 14 international environment-related conventions which Pakistan has ratified. Compliance with these conventions is difficult without coordination between federal and provincial authorities.
CCD Secretary Raja Hasan Abbas said coordination between the division and provincial environment departments will help improve their understanding of common interest environmental issues.
Abbas said a national coordination committee on multilateral environmental agreements, headed by the CCD secretary, should be constituted.
The provincial secretaries stressed upon the revival of vertical, umbrella projects, which were discontinued at the time of the Environment Ministry’s devolution.
CCD officials said those projects were shelved due to a formal decision by the government. They suggested, however, that the provincial governments may submit fresh proposals for the CCD to consider. Pak-EPA Director-General Asif Shuja Khan said the agency was willing to provide support to provincial environmental departments in formulating laws to protect the environment.
Khan also referred to the issue of tyre recycling and electronic waste generated across the country at the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.
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