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Environment and Biodiversity; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

There are many environmental problems in the province, but these are mostly institutional and can be redressed through effectual implementation of the Environmental Protection Laws. Many of the line departments of the Government have planned, designed, and implemented successful individual projects leading to protection, rehabilitation, and conservation of the environment.[1]

The province of KP enjoys very valuable natural resources, including rivers/ springs and large forest areas. However, the rapidly increasing population places strong pressures on these natural resources and many areas are now experiencing water shortages and deforestation, with the associated problems of soil erosion and vulnerability to floods and other related natural disasters. There are some areas of the province where natural resource pressures are threatening livelihoods in a dramatic fashion. Some measures can be taken to reduce environmental pressures, specifically those involving more efficient use of water and alternative cooking fuels. However, the resources available are insufficient to address the scale of the problems. Environmental standards are hampered by low political priority, inadequate institutional capacity, governance problems, and low stakeholder and private sector participation. Funding is limited, and the existing legislation is punitive rather than supportive. The growth of the urban population is much higher than average, which is partly a reflection of the larger number of people dislocated by the political instability in the province. High urban growth combined with slow development of the urban sector has resulted in uncontrolled and unplanned development of the cities and towns, a deteriorating urban environment, and deficiencies in all forms of urban services.

Under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997, the term “environment” refers to air, water, land, and layers of the atmosphere; living organisms and inorganic matter; the ecosystem and ecological relationships; buildings, structures, roads, facilities, and works; all social and economic conditions affecting community life; as well as the interrelationship between any of these elements (Section 2(x)).

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environment Department is responsible for administering and implementing the environmental laws of Pakistan and KP.

The Wildlife Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa looks after the Wildlife Protected Areas of the province. The vision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department is “Presence of viable populations of all the key species of wild animals, birds and reptiles along with their habitats and extensive network of Protected Areas representing all the ecosystems and species safeguarding and sustaining all the components of biological diversity as enshrined in UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992.”

[1] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Comprehensive Development Strategy: 2010-17, Planning and Development Department KP.