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Pakistan State of Environment Report: The Monthly Overview, December, 2014

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet in Pakistan, decided to lift the over two decades long ban on forest harvesting besides managing forests along scientific lines in line with a working plan made by the government. Read more in November 2014 edition of the Monthly Overview on State of Environment, Pakistan

ENVIRONMENT
The University of Agriculture Peshawar has recently established the Climate Change Centre to conduct studies and research on climate change and cope with the challenges posed by changing weather patterns. While the Asian Development Bank is yet to finalise its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Pakistan for 2014-18, it has announced an interim plan for six sectors to which its assistance will continue. Energy and transport; agriculture and natural resources; rural development; water supply and other urban infrastructure and services; finance; and public sector management have been identified as the areas to which the ADB assistance will continue.

LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE
The “Seed (Amendment) Bill 2014” has been cleared by the National Assembly Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research in Pakistan, and would likely be passed by the National Assembly in its coming session next week, said  Federal Minister National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while addressing the National Seed Policy Workshop. The minister said that similarly the Plant Breeders’ Right Bill has been submitted to the cabinet for approval. The veterinary department Thatta is waiting for medical report of camels probably affected with camelpoxes as around 50 animals with a single hump have so far been died in less than a week. Such a disease never hit this part of Sindh before, said veterinary experts.


FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
In Pakistan, Chairperson National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Marvi Memon has said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will soon announce a special assistance package for the drought-hit people of Tharparkar. The governments of Japan and Pakistan have agreed to implement two projects worth $36 million for disaster management through improving the capacity of sewerage and drainage services and the weather forecasting system in Pakistan.

HABITAT
A 10-member delegation from World Bank met Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui  to discuss Karachi Transformation Strategy, a non-lending technical assistance (NLTA) project sponsored by the Korean Green Growth Trust. Decision has been taken to close down private public transport service on Murree Road after the completion of metro bus project in Rawalpindi.

WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
Adviser to the chief minister on prison affairs Malik Qasim Khan Khattak has claimed that the PTI-led government has started survey to construct a canal from River Indus to the Karak district in Pakistan, to overcome water shortage for domestic consumption and irrigation. Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-EPA) has asked Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), Rawalpindi Municipal Waste Company and six town municipal administrations in the district to ensure a functional sewerage system, supply of potable water and proper disposal of solid waste.

HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS
Forty-four  new dengue cases were reported , taking the number of confirmed cases in the province of Lahore to 1,190. Around 19 per cent of people over 50 years of age are suffering from diabetes in Pakistan. A 18-month-old female child fell victim to polio virus in Balochistan’s Killa Abdullah district.  With this case, the number of polio cases in the province has risen to 11. A one-day polio immunisation campaign was conducted in 97 union councils of Peshawar district. The first polio case in five years from  Swat valley was confirmed, which, along with a fresh case from Sindh, raised the national tally to 262. An estimated three million pneumonia cases are reported in Pakistan every year, out of which over 72,000 children of less than five years of age die annually due to the infection. Government of Balochistan in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO has launched a 7 days emergency vaccination campaign against 9 deadly childhood infectious diseases, Communication Unit of Emergency Operation Cell official told. Lahore Chief Minister Shahbaz  Shariff  has constituted seven working groups for health sector reforms and resolving the issues confronted by the government hospitals. Sindh Assembly passed three health bills unanimously – Sindh Epidemic Disease Bill 2014, Sindh Eye Surgery (Ban) Bill 2014 and Sindh Tuberculosis Notification Bill 2014. Members of civil society and media have supported tobacco control advocates’ efforts for legislation on comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) in Pakistan.

ENERGY
Sindh government has allotted 680 acres of land to Sachal Energy (Pvt) Ltd for a period of 30 years to establish 49.5 MW Wind Energy Project, at a cost of $133 million, at Jhimpir in district Thatta. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has given approval to the pilot project of providing bio-gas tubewell plants to small farmers on soft terms.

LIVING RESOURCES
WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Punjab Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Department organized a one-day consultative workshop at a local hotel to finalise the management plan of Taunsa Barrage Wildlife Sanctuary (TBWS). Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the federal authorities to submit their replies to the petition calling for protection of the endangered wildlife and action against the traffickers.