“Safeguarding the environment is a guiding principle of all our work in support of sustainable development. It is an essential component of poverty eradication and one of the foundations of peace and security.”
KOFIANNAN, UNITEDNATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL, 1997
Environmental peace building examines and advocates environmental protection and cooperation as a factor in peaceful relations. Peace building is both the theory and practice of identifying the conditions that can lead to a sustainable peace between those who have previously been adversaries, and assisting adversaries to move towards a sustainable peace. Taking Pakistan In this framework, there is so much to be done for the sustainability of environment along with escalating efforts for peacebuliding between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan is a country of 131 million populations with per capita income of US $ 488 and GDP of Rs.6.821 trillion. Much is needed to be invested for environmental sustainability and protection in order to ensure peace domestically and regionally. Environmental issues in Pakistan have been disturbing the balance between economic development and environmental protection.
Pakistan is bordered with India and it shares a considerable amount of resources and reservoirs with India. For the past decades, Indian hostilities have ruined Pakistan’s resources. Environmental factors are rarely, if ever, the sole cause of conflict – ideology, ethnicity, poor economic conditions, rapid regime change, low levels of international trade, and conflict in neighboring countries are all important factors. However, the exploitation of natural resource and related environmental degradation can be significant drivers of conflict, increasing the severity and duration of violence and complicating its resolution.
There are numerous issues on the table of discussion and resolution:
The potential threat of a Nuclear War between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir Dispute
Kashmir has already led to two wars between India and Pakistan but this time a new threat of nuclear war is inevitable, leading both the countries to a massacre.
A full-scale nuclear exchange of nuclear warheads between India and Pakistan could kill up to twelve million people immediately and cause up to seven million non-fatal casualties, according to a recent assessment by the Pentagon (New York Times, 5/28/02). Even a "limited war", with only a small number of warheads being detonated, would have a cataclysmic effect. Individual nuclear warheads are thought to be capable of producing a 20 kiloton blast (the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT). This is comparable to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The effects of any nuclear exchange would be catastrophic. Apart from millions of human casualties, there would be a long-term social breakdown, with famine and the spread of disease. Medical and other emergency resources would be overwhelmed. Talking in the environmental perspective, radioactive contamination would spread, causing more and more casualties, as well as incalculable long-term health effects across the region and globe.
So much is needed to be done to ensure the sustainability of peace between both the countries. Because the war itself is a great illusion, it cannot benefit India or Pakistan. The peace building initiatives should be taken by both the sides to avoid future conflicts and nuclear war.
Sachem Glacier conflict
Sachem glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, is the Himalayan watershed that draws a line between Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent and that separates Pakistan from China in this region. Sachem (abode of roses) is the world's second longest non-polar glacier;. It is 70 km long and flows from an altitude of 5750 meters to 3620 meters above sea level. Despite its strategic importance and a history of battlefield operations in 1984, Pakistan’s intelligence and military failure has led to a lost of some part of its territory to India. The mismanagement in the affairs led to these circumstances. The ceasefire of 2003 was a way to peace between both countries.
Global Climate Change resulting from an increasing concentration of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere has become an accepted and major theme in today‘s world.. These changes in temperature are but the crest of the many environmental, social and political issues which will follow in the wake of the changing climate. Unfortunately the major causes of a rapidly warming climate can be attributed to anthropogenic activities such as the burning of fuel, the depletion of forests and changes in land use (conversion of forest into agriculture land) as it is happening in Pakistan on a large scale..
Being a responsible country, in coming years it will suffer greatly if it doesn’t encounter its water , energy and environmental crisis. As we can see, the effort that needs to be made to counter, adapt and mitigate the negative effects of Climate Change, must come as a collaborative effort from all levels of society and all departments of the government as the proposed solutions cannot be tightly packed in a compartment labeled mitigation or adaptation. However seeing the ground realities of Climate Change, it is pertinent to take adaptation more seriously as identified by government of Pakistan, owing to the debate of the water, food and energy security of the nation member of international community, Pakistan should also contribute to the global mitigation efforts as discussed above. Climate Change in the context of Pakistan is posing three big challenges relating to the water, food and energy security of the country. However, a careful analysis shows that all these securities are interlinked and are dependent on each other. A concerted approach by all relevant departments would be beneficial instead of adopting a silo approach.
A Climate Change policy needs to be devised by taking into consideration the water, food and energy security of the country. It should be done in a consultative manner in which all the relevant stakeholders are taken on board; Provincial opinions should also be taken while finalizing the CC policy. Provinces should make adaptation action plans in light of the national policy developed, which should be consistent with the existing ground realities; Technology no doubt is necessary but is not sufficient alone. The techno centric approach should be complemented by considering the social concerns as well. Doing so would help in building the ownership of the campaign to counter the effects of climate change; The institutional capacity of different tiers of government should be built on adaptation measures side by side with the communities; The capacity building of vulnerable communities should also be done and adaptation measures should be adopted that are consistent with the socioeconomic realities of the beneficiaries.
To secure its future, Pakistan should work in its present and ensure that the upcoming generations will follow the same course of action and will ensure peace as well.