- Ambassador Jean-François Cautain says EU decides to conduct an environmental assessment for all of its planned development projects
ISLAMABAD: The COMSATS University of Islamabad (CUI) and the Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD) successfully completed the Pakistan Country Environment Profile and the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Rural Development Programme in Pakistan for the European Union.
On the occasion of dissemination of the project outcome, CCRD head Prof Dr Athar Hussain informed the audience that the strategic environmental assessment was a representation of the EU’s seriousness towards sustainable development and compliance of the environmental laws in Pakistan.
CCDR Assistant Professor Dr Anjum Rasheed presented the project outcome while providing an overview of how the EU’s rural development programmes have improved the quality of life in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal areas) and Sindh. She said that integrating environmental component into the EU’s programmes has led to avoiding any likely adverse environmental impacts and health risks.
EU Ambassador Jean-François Cautain said that being cognizant of the environmental issues arising from the development activities, the European Union had decided to conduct the environmental assessment for all of its planned development projects and programmes. He said that the study on the strategic environmental assessment and the environmental impact assessment has helped to improve the planned programmes and to minimise the environmental and climate impacts of the development activities.
He appreciated the ‘Country Environment Profile’ for Pakistan prepared by CCRD which provides the current status of the natural resources and the environmental issues of Pakistan. He acknowledged Dr Anjum Rasheed for carrying out an extensive study which helped in avoiding any adverse environmental effects and to improve the environmental performance of the programmes. He ensured that the European Union would comply to the national environmental protection laws during the implementation of its development programmes in the future as well.
Former secretary Syed Abu Ahmad Akif delivered keynote remarks on the significance of the environmental assessment for the development projects and programmes. He acknowledged the consideration of the environmental sustainability as a priority of the European Union. He said that the government was cognizant of the current environmental challenges and was taking action for the climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Adviser for COMSATS Secretariat Ambassador Shahid Kamal, who set up the CCRD in 2014, acknowledged the European Union for immense contribution to the rural development of Pakistan. He appreciated Dr Anjum Rasheed for leading the project team to carry out a strategic environmental assessment for EU’s eight rural development programmes. He mentioned that this project on environmental assessment has provided a learning opportunity for researchers and students to get an insight into environmental and socio-economic issues in the rural areas.
He said that the ‘Pakistan-Country Environment Profile’ prepared by CCRD was a good baseline providing a current scenario of the environmental and the climate issues of Pakistan. He emphasised the need to link the environmental sustainability with the economic development.