The Ministry of Environment, after the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol established a CDM Cell that devotes its entire energies to develop capacities to achieve the goals of the Protocol. The Global Change Impact Studies Center has also been established. Scientific seminars and conferences have also been organized by the University of Arid Agriculture. Some capacity building projects are also in the pipeline. There is a vigorous interest in preparing CDM projects in the forestry sector. It is hoped that by the end of the First Commitment Period of the UNFCCC i.e. 2012 Pakistan will be better prepared to fulfill its global commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. There is little research carried out by the academia on the impacts of climate change specific to Pakistan. Moreover capacities are further needed to be built to understand the science of climate change and estimation of the Green House Gases Emissions etc.
There are certain caveats in dealing with CDM projects in the forestry sector: the main thrust of CDM is carbon sequestration that could possibly pose and environmental hazard with the large scale use of fast growing genetically modified trees. Moreover in the scenario of establishment of a large number of forests as carbon sinks the fate of forest biological diversity remains uncertain. However more scientific studies would definitely help adjust to conserve biodiversity. No wonder forestry projects under the CDM are insignificant so far.
Chapter 14: Other Biodiversity Related International Conventions
Pakistan’s Compliance with International Treaties and Conventions
The Government of Pakistan is a Party to a number of international treaties/conventions related to nature conservation. These conventions and focal points in Pakistan are as under:
Table 14.1: Various Multilateral Environmental Agreements Signed by Pakistan
Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides
Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety to the CBD
Ratification in process
Details on the implementation of some of the conventions are given in the following sections.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora
This convention was signed in Washington on March 3, 1973. Pakistan became a party on April 20, 1976. More than 130 countries have acceded to it so far. The following are the obligations of the Parties:
To prevent trade in specimens of species included in Appendix I, II, and III of CITES except in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
To take appropriate measures to enforce the provisions of the Convention and to prohibit trade in the specimens in violation thereof. In case any violation has already taken place, the main provisions of the Convention are:
To penalise and take possession of such specimens.
To proceed to return the specimens to the country of origin.
To prepare periodic reports on CITES implementations for submission to the Secretariat of the Convention.
The endangered species have been categorised in three different appendices in accordance with their global status. Appendix-I lists critically endangered species with trade potential for scientific, research and breeding purposes only. The species of fauna which are found in Pakistan and are listed in CITES Appendix-I include the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, black and brown bears, peregrine falcon, the Houbara bustard, the monitor lizard and marine turtles. The species of fauna listed in Appendix-I are protected because they are listed in provincial legislation for legal cover. Hunting and export on a commercial basis is not permitted. The trade policy circulated by the Ministry of Commerce also reflects the commitment of the Government of Pakistan by listing CITES species in such a category that prohibits their export. An example is the Houbara bustard, an important bird whose arrival in winter also brings foreign dignitaries and at times controversies for its conservation
Appendix-II of CITES includes species which are not critically endangered, but whose free trade may cause their eventual inclusion in Appendix-I. The Government of Pakistan generally discourages the trade of birds listed in CITES appendices. However, a limited number included in CITES Appendix-II are permitted for export. Such species of fauna in Pakistan include the saker falcon, Indian cobra, mongoose, etc. A few floral species found in Pakistan are also listed in CITES Appendix-II such as the katki and Indian nard. The Government of Pakistan is permitting the export of saker falcons in limited numbers. These falcons are exported to the Gulf for use in falconry. However, such exports are permitted only to the dignitaries or state guests. The permitted floral species of Appendix-II are collected on a commercial basis mainly for medicinal purposes, but their trade outside the country is not permitted keeping in view CITES obligations.
Appendix-III includes species, which may be common in one country, but at the same time endangered in another. One example of such a species is the rose-ringed parakeet. Its population is so common in Pakistan that it is considered a pest of fruit and crops. On the recommendations of the Zoological Survey Department, the scientific authority for CITES in Pakistan, a quota for the export of rose-ringed parakeets was fixed at 30,000 for the year 1998.
In order to fulfil the obligations of CITES and to protect the natural wealth of the country, the GoP has imposed a moratorium on the commercial trade of mammals, reptiles, and protected birds. A number of traders are interested in the export of freshwater turtles to China and other countries of Asia. Since most of the freshwater turtle species are listed in the CITES Appendices, the commercial export is not permitted despite the Ministry of Commerce’s recommendations to allow such exports.
The import of CITES-listed species is only permitted if admissible under regulations. It is being reported that Shahtoosh, a fine quality woollen shawl which is made from the wool of the Tibetan antelope, a CITES Appendix-I species, is being traded through Pakistan. Tibetan antelope found in China are being poached for their high priced wool. The shawls are manufactured in Indian-held Kashmir.
Pakistan submitted a proposal to the 10th Conference of Parties of CITES held in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1997 that called for the allocation of an export quota of six hunted markhor trophies. The markhor is listed in CITES Appendix-I. The quota was approved to give an incentive to the communities involved in nature conservation.