II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
[ II | II-A | II-B
| II-C | II-D
| II-E | II-F
| II-G | II-H |
II-I | II-J ]
G. Institutional and policy weaknesses
Although institutional weakness and the need for institutional reform has been raised as an issue at different levels of the federal and provincial governments. It has been dealt with most extensively in the National Report of Pakistan, which identifies the follow five areas of concern and action:
- The absence of legitimate customary or formal mechanisms at the local community level (e.g., local government bodies, village committees and civic or religious organizations with broad appeal), through which communities can protect natural resources, allocate rights and responsibilities over them, and plan investments and improvements in quantity and quality;
- The inability of the market to function as an effective mechanism for natural resource management, with a major reason being the weakness of mechanisms through which individual or community rights can be enforced or defended;
- The weakness of the legal, judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, and in particular their inability to enforce rights at the local level, and the absence of a system for a judicial review of governmental authority;
- The limited credibility and legitimacy of research institutions as a result of, inter alia, the absence of informational infrastructure (e.g., properly functioning libraries, computer labs and statistical services or quality professional journals), the hostility of experts towards cultural and ecological diversity, and the high-tech bias of many of the institutions that discriminate against a low-tech approach that is often more appropriate in developing countries. A lack of coordination between government agencies and the universities and other research organizations is another very important factor that is worsening the situation;
- The growing inability of the government to implement any of its policies effectively because of the centralization of power, corruption, and poor work incentives and working conditions.
A lack of either rational planning or a transparent system of governance, monitoring and institutional capabilities such as a dearth of trained personnel and necessary equipment are the other constraints. The prescription, then, is the introduction of political and administrative decentralization, the establishment of local-level participatory political institutions, the strengthening of government and non-government institutions, and improved working conditions and incentive systems in these institutions. A keystone in those efforts will be greater involvement of NGOs/CBOs/VOs and other local institutions in decision-making, provision of advice and mobilization at the grass-roots level. Those steps are needed both to fill the gaps in the existing net of policies for environmental and natural resource management, and to help implement various national and international commitments made by the national and NWFP governments.
Policies and programmes need to be rationalized in order that informed and rational decisions can be taken on government priorities during the respective planning process. With regard to provincial government priorities the following initiatives need to be taken:
- The review and compilation of all existing policies and related documents;
- The development of new policies for areas where they are, at present, deficient, e.g., water resources management, land-use planning and zoning;
- Introduce and develop a mechanism that will ensure due environmental consideration is given to the policy-making process in the initial stage of development projects;
- Institutionalize the environmental assessment process right from the initial stage of any development project;
- Undertake studies to assess the environmental effects of existing policies, and undertake mitigation measures to reduce the adverse environmental effects of those policies and programmes.