National Environmental Laws, Policies, and Strategies

Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 

The Act aims to provide for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, prevention and control of pollution, promotion of sustainable development and for matters connected therewith. It highlights the framework for implementation of  National Conservation Strategy (NCS), establishment of Provincial Sustainable development Funds, protection and conservation of species, conservation of renewable resources, establishment of Environmental Tribunals and appointment of Environmental Magistrates, Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 

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National Drinking Water Policy 2009

The Policy aims to provide a guiding framework to the Federal Government, Provincial Governments, State of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Local Governments, development authorities and other organisations to address the key issues and challenges facing Pakistan in the provision of sustainable access to safe drinking water. The Policy complements and is implemented in coordination with, the National Environment Policy, National Sanitation Policy, National Water Policy and other related policies of the Government of Pakistan for protection and improvement of public health and quality of life. The Federal Government, Provincial Governments, AJK and Federally Administered Territories will devise their own strategies, plans and programmes in pursuit of this policy.  

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National Water Policy 2018

The National Water Policy 2018 is an overarching policy document aiming to set the tone for provincial water policies. It recognizes key water-related challenges faced by Pakistan and sets out clear and actionable policy objectives that can be galvanised to achieve the objectives. It further discusses the need for ensuring water security for the people of Pakistan, and aims to lay down the outlines of an integrated water management strategy that can optimise the economic, social and environmental returns on water resources, ensure equitable allocation among its competing demands as well as its judicious use by consumers and safe disposal of post-use effluents.

The National Water Policy lays down a broad policy framework and set of principles for water security on the basis of which the Provincial Governments can formulate their respective Master Plans and projects for water conservation, water development and water management. This document has divided water resource management into several categories, such as industry, ground water, rainwater irrigation, hydropower, climate change, etc. 

The objectives of the National Water Policy (NWP) are grounded in a set of principles aimed at promoting greater national interest and the welfare of the people of Pakistan. In addition, several strategic initiatives have been identified that will be taken up at the Federal and Provincial levels, since they are of critical importance to the water, energy and food security of Pakistan. These include: 

  • Conservation and Efficiency
  • Storage
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Renewable Energy
  • Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)
  • Comprehensive Regulatory Framework
  • Planning Principles

National Environment Policy 2006

The National Environmental Policy is prepared pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Environmental Management Act and includes provisions which seek to encourage the establishment of institutional linkages locally, regionally and internationally to further the objects of the said Act, an analysis of the legislative, regulatory and practical issues impacting upon the development and successful implementation of the policy; and a programme for promoting the policy and seeking an effective commitment from all groups and citizens in the society to achieve the stated objectives of the policy. Its ultimate goal is environmentally sustainable development, meaning the balance of economic growth with environmentally sound practices in order to enhance the quality of life and meet the needs of present and future generations. 

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National Resettlement Policy March 2002 (Draft)

The National Resettlement Policy aims to cover affected persons and existing systems to ensure an equitable and uniform treatment of resettlement issues all over Pakistan. The Policy applies to all development projects involving adverse social impacts, including land acquisition, loss of assets, income, business etc. The Policy has addressed areas overlooked by the Land Acquisition Act 1894 (LAA) and will be applicable wherever the people, families, or communities are affected by any public sector or private development project, even where there is no displacement. The Policy also aims to compensate for the loss of income to those who suffer due to loss of communal property including common assets, productive assets, structures, other fixed assets, income and employment, loss of community networks and services, pasture, water rights, public infrastructure like mosques, shrines, schools, graveyards etc. 

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Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), National Operational Strategy

Pakistan deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Kyoto Protocol (Annex-A) in the UN Secretariat on 11 January 2005 and an important condition for becoming eligible for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects was fulfilled. This Operational Strategy is developed to fulfil the requirements of establishing a Designated National Authority (DNA) and ensuring transparent, participatory and effective management of the CDM process in the country. The strategy describes the functions and powers of the DNA and the national approval process. It builds on preliminary studies for initial projects including Asia Least Cost Greenhouse Gases Abatement Strategy (ALGAS) and Pakistan’s Initial Communication on Climate Change which provides a general framework for operating CDM in Pakistan

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National Sanitation Policy

The National Sanitation Policy of Pakistan provides a broad framework and policy guidelines to the Federal Government, Provincial Governments, Federally Administered Territories and the Local Governments, to enhance and support sanitation coverage in the country through formulation of their sanitation strategies, plans and programmes at all respective levels for improving the quality of life of people of Pakistan and the physical environment necessary for healthy life. The Policy primarily focuses on safe disposal of liquid and solid wastes; and promotion of health and hygiene practices in the country. The term sanitation, however, extends to cover cleanliness, hygiene, proper collection of liquid and solid wastes and their environmentally sound disposal. In this endeavour, the need for waste reduction, reuse, recycling and changes in the attitude towards consumption and production patterns are other imperatives for achieving goals of a sustainable environment. 

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National Climate Change Policy 2012

The National Climate Change Policy provides a framework for addressing the issues that Pakistan faces or will face in future due to the changing climate. The policy thus provides a comprehensive framework for the development of Action Plans for national efforts on adaptation and mitigation. This policy document is a ‘living’ document and will be reviewed and updated regularly to address emerging concepts and issues in the ever-evolving science of climate change. The primary goal of this policy is to ensure that climate change is mainstreamed in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development.

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Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy

The Framework for Implementation of  National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) has been developed not as an end in itself, but rather as a catalyst for mainstreaming climate change concerns into decision making that will create enabling conditions for integrated climate compatible development processes. It is therefore not a stand-alone document, but rather an integral and synergistic complement to future planning in the country. The Framework for Implementation of NCCP is designed as a ‘living document’. This is because the authorities are still uncertain about the timing and exact magnitude of many of the likely impacts of climate change. The authorities will continue to deepen their understanding of the phenomenon, as they continue to implement their adaptation and mitigation programmes. This document will also provide a basis and form the building block that will lead to the development of a National Adaptation Plan(NAP), National Appropriate Mitigation Action(NAMAs) Framework and the preparation of the Second National Communication to UNFCCC.

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National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS)

The NSDS is an attempt to define sustainable development and the pathway to a “green economy” in Pakistan’s context. It lays out an adaptive system and approach that can be continuously improved, through regular updates, to respond to evolving challenges. The focus has been on integrating not only across the three overall dimensions of economic, social and environment but also integrating the goals with the existing development paradigm with the aim of shifting it on to a more sustainable pathway. The NSDS envisions to evolve a just and harmonious society in the country through promotion of a vibrant and equitable economic growth without overexploitation of natural resources with fair distribution of development dividends to all; in particular to the marginalised, poor and vulnerable in the society and to future generations.

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National Forest Policy

This policy (supported by caveats in the National Environment Policy) addresses the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. It acknowledges the multiple functions of Pakistan’s forests, such as carbon storage for climate change mitigation. However, there is a particularly strong focus on forests’ role in mountain areas where they provide protection from soil erosion and reduction of downstream siltation; and crucially, watershed protec-tion. It also notes the potential of forests to support local livelihoods in terms of provision of non-timber forest products (mushrooms, medicinal plants etc.). Much of Pakistan’s forests have now been cleared, increasing the importance of managing what remains under a framework of sustainable use. In particular, sustainable use should benefit marginalised groups such as women and children. Use of existing resources should be complemented with forest restoration activities to attempt to regenerate forests in order to safeguard economic growth. Approaches to achieve the desired sustainable use of forests include the substitution of firewood and timber (specifically discouraging the use of rare species in government buildings); and the prevention of encroachment on remaining forest lands through regulation of grazing. In order to finance the protection of watersheds and safeguard Pakistan’s water supply, the forest policy stipulates the creation of a forest fund. The fund may also be used to finance the promotion of forestry research and education in Pakistan. 

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National Rangeland Policy

The overall goal of the national rangelands policy is to rehabilitate the degraded rangelands and pastures close to their potential for increased productivity enhance their environmental and regulatory functions and services, increase and conserve rangeland biodiversity besides mitigating the negative impacts of global climate change through collaborative and holistic rangeland resources to contribute to the livelihood improvement of the rangelands dependent communities as well as to the national economy.  The objective is to improve their livelihoods and economic condition in conjunction with environmental protection.

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