Taken from http://www.dailytimes.com.pk

Pakistan must confront the developmental challenge through getting “ahead of the curve” and “riding the waves” of upcoming Green Economy, urged Dr Tariq Banuri, Director of the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) at the Division for Sustainable Development. “Our task is to anticipate what the solution is and be ahead of that solution, not behind the solution”, he said. Dr Banuri was speaking at an event marking the 40th Anniversary of Canada’s Inter-national Development Research Centre (IDRC), organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at the Best Western Hotel, in Islamabad on Monday.

Dr Banuri noted that a number of Pakistan’s neighbors are already putting the Green Economy at the centre of policy planning, including China and India, and urged that Pakistan should not be left behind in eradicating poverty through Green Economy growth. “We cannot live without growth and we won’t live long if we continue with this kind of growth,” Banuri said, referring to environmental catastrophe that awaits the globe if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced.

Highlighting the fundamental contradiction between growth and environmental protection, Banuri singled out energy as a key issue for Pakistan’s future: “No matter what we do, development needs more energy. We will have to multiply our energy access by a factor of maybe five, three or four.” While pointing out to looming environmental catastrophe linked to Pakistan and the world’s fossil fuel dependence, Banuri noted that, thanks to Chinese production, renewable energy costs are sharply reducing: “Look at solar; in 2005 solar power cost $5 per watt to harvest; now it’s $1.20. If it comes down to 40 cents then we’re in business.” Banuri argued that the Green Economy is an emerging trend in internalising the environmental costs of economic activity.

Through taxes, subsidies and other measures undertaken by the “development state”, Pakistan can achieve the 6-8% sustained growth that it needs to “win the race of development” without destroying the environment. Nadeem Ul-Haq, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Pakistan noted that failure of both the development state of an active policy community in Pakistan could help link policy to growth. He noted the youthful demographics of Pakistan and the failure of the state in achieving inclusive development for this portion of society: “terrorism is one signal they’re sending”, he said. He explained that crucial to development in Pakistan, the paradigm of land reform must be reconsidered. Land ownership has become fragmented in most of the country, he said, and new solutions must be sought in confronting a changed paradigm.

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