Posted on 14 September 2022
Islamabad, 14 September: The European Union (EU) has been supporting sustainable and green inclusive growth in Pakistan through its project titled ‘International Labour and Environmental Standards Application in Pakistan’s SMEs (ILES) which is being jointly implemented by WWF-Pakistan and International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2016. Overall, each year the EU provides approximately €100 million to Pakistan in grants for development and strengthening cooperation.
Speaking at a seminar highlighting green practices in Pakistan’s industrial sector, in particular a new WWF toolkit aimed at enhancing environmental reporting under SDG 12 (focused on sustainable production and consumption), Dr. Stephen Langrell, Head of Rural Development and Economic Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Pakistan, expressed optimism for improved reporting to help assess overall compliance with this UN development goal, as part of continued access to the current GSP+ scheme. He noted that although exports to the EU increased by 65% during the pre-Covid-19 period, the current the GSP+ regulation will conclude in December 2023, with any possible new regulation likely to have 6 further international conventions, in addition to the current 27. Therefore, as we approach the conclusion of the current scheme, enhanced reporting for SDG-12 and MEAs by WWF-Pakistan can be considered both timely, but also may provide opportunities for new ideas regarding sustainability and circularity which could improve the overall profile of Pakistan’s industrial sector.
Mr. Mohammad Saeed Ashraf Siddiqi, Director General Ministry of Climate Change, fully endorsed the environmental component of the ILES program which promotes compliance with the environmental standards. He also stressed the need for promoting resource efficiency through dashboards, calling for collaborative approach and joint efforts by all public and private sector stakeholders.
Dr. Masood Arshad, Senior Director Footprint, WWF-Pakistan added that WWF-Pakistan has been working for the conservation of natural resources and pollution reduction in Pakistan’s textile and leather sectors. The toolkits developed will encourage the private sector to report their best practices at the pilot scale and initiate a healthy competition. Sohail Ali Naqvi, Head of Freshwater Programme at WWF-Pakistan, while introducing the dashboard for SDG-12 apprised the audience that the success stories of environmental compliance of 75 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under ILES can be linked to the National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production for its effective implementation.
The seminar was attended by stakeholders from the public and private sector organizations who actively took part in the discussion.