The Heinrich Boell Stiftung (hbs), within the framework of the foundations engagement in Pakistan has been keen on promoting conducive policies for environmental protection. In this regard hbs is engaging with youth, community at grassroots, students, policy makers, academia, media and the civil society. During these engagements it became clear that it is not always the lack of attention from policy makers but their capacities and knowledge on environment related issues that put environment on the back-burner. In Pakistan unfortunately there is less sensitivity about environment and ecological considerations in policy making circles. Therefore hbs initiated a Green Parliamentarians’ Caucus in collaboration with a premier think tank of Islamabad, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). In September 2016, the first meeting of the “Green Parliamentarians’ Caucus” was held and attended by engaged elected representatives. Among the participants National Assembly’s Standing committee on Climate Change was also represented.
The aim of this forum is to equip parliamentarians with necessary information and capacity and enable them to spearhead environment friendly policy changes. Moreover parliamentarians are provided with a platform to come together and discuss issues related to environment and climate change in Pakistan both conceptually and in terms of practical measures.
hbs believes that environment related issues such as climate change are a threat to the sustainability of social and economic development. However informed decisions at policy level can turn this threat into an opportunity. There is no denying of the development needs of Pakistan however, considering the needs and interests also of future generations of the country, the path to development requires environment and climate conducive response on all levels.
Follow up meetings, development of terms of reference and a workplan are the next steps of the initiative. Efforts are being made to get the caucus recognized in the National Assembly so that environment compatible development could be mainstreamed in policy making. SDPI will serve as a secretariat for the Green Parliamentarians’ Caucus and the parliamentarians will be supported on a day to day basis to familiarize themselves through international literature about development and environmental issues. It is envisioned that the “Green Caucus” would get official recognition by the National Assembly in the near future.