Your Vote Counts – Vote responsibly and for environmental sustainability in the upcoming elections
The subject of the environment is still struggling to be a top agenda in the national elections this year.
This is why WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with Pakistan Votes (PV), a non-partisan voter platform, has released a short video demanding citizens vote responsibly in the upcoming general elections to be held on 25 July 2018 across Pakistan.
WWF-Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving Agenda 2030. The global WWF Network has always highlighted nature’s contribution to social and economic development, and helped develop an integrated Agenda 2030 with a strong environment dimension. Most of the seventeen SDGs are directly or indirectly linked to environmental sustainability, particularly those that address poverty, hunger, health and well-being, water and sanitation, clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, and life on land. WWF, thus, aims to drive national action on SDGs implementation around the world.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s performance on these goals is comparatively low. The country was ranked 147 out of 188 on the Human Development Index (2016), and 106 among 119 developing countries in the Global Hunger Index (2017). With an annual per capita availability of water at around 1000 cubic metres, Pakistan is fast becoming a water scarce country; many areas, including metropolises like Karachi, are in the grips of acute water crises already. Pakistan has one of the lowest forest covers and one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.
In addition, climate change impacts, such as the recent melting of a glacier in Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan that has damaged infrastructure and rendered many families insecure, exacerbate these issues. Without healthy ecosystems, which can be measured by the richness of biodiversity and various other indicators outlined for the SDGs, there can be no integrated sustainable development.
Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, shared that the country is home to rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems, from mountains in the north to mangroves along the coast. The organization works closely with local communities living in important ecoregions, protected conservation areas, and fragile ecosystems. ‘Raising awareness about important environmental challenges is key for WWF-Pakistan, and advocating for responsible voting is a crucial step towards ensuring environmental sustainability in country’, he added.
It is the responsibility of the citizens of Pakistan to elect leaders who are committed to building a future where clean air and water, livelihood opportunities, adequate nutrition, clean energy, sustainable and equitable access to natural resources, among other necessities, are provided for everyone across the country. WWF-Pakistan urges all citizens, those working in the public and private sectors, civil society organizations, academia, and others to take collective action aimed at bringing together the agendas for sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and biodiversity conservation.
Local communities now realize the importance of environment conservation for sustainable development as a result of various awareness raising initiatives by WWF-Pakistan.