Human societies have continued to grow in size and population as advancements in medicine and technology have increased the overall life expectancy of individuals. Global economies thrive on the consumption and production cycle. Resources are extracted from the earth and converted into consumable products, but not all consumption is efficient, and waste is often generated in large quantities. Over time, the unrestricted use of natural resources has strained the planet’s health and many places in the world have now become unfit for habitat due to excessive extraction of resources from the ground. Taking into consideration the demand for actual goods in a country, the rate of materials being extracted from the earth is increasing at an alarming rate. Pakistan stands gifted in multiple natural resources. Although the physical extraction of resources remains less compared to the actual reserves, the country must ensure that natural resources are not wasted or used excessively. Continue reading to understand Pakistan’s progress on fulfilling SDG goal 12, responsible consumption and production.
The Significance of SDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
The number of people who join society’s middle class is expected to grow around the world. Although that is a good sign of growth, it also alludes to the fact that more demand of consumables will fuel greater extraction of natural resources. But already the global material footprint is increasing at a far greater rate than the economic output or demand. Improvements in efficiency for one country is offset by increasing extraction in others. Most countries have not yet shifted to renewable energy resources and the extensive use of fossil fuels is becoming a major concern. The amount of waste produced by consumption of food and other items, including medical waste, is also mounting with time (UN Stats, 2021). Governments must find a just and equitable way to make consumption sustainable and reduce the ecological footprint of waste to allow for safe and effective regeneration of natural resources (SDG Compass, 2021).
The SDG goal 12 aims to address multiple areas, such as sustainable sourcing, resource efficiency of products and services, materials recycling, and procurement practices. By following a framework of guidelines on consumption and waste management, developed and developing countries can work together towards sustainable management and use of resources. Among the targets set out by the SDGs goal 12 include, halving the global per capita food waste, managing of chemical and waste, substantially reducing waste generation, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and sustainable reporting, promoting sustainable public procurement practices, capacity development of developing countries by aiding them in science and technology, monitoring tourism, and removing market distortions that encourage wasteful consumption. Therefore, SDG 12 holds great significance for sustainable future of human societies (SDGPakistan, 2021).
Pakistan’s Use of Data for Effective Decision Making
Pakistan started using data in its fight against covid19 at a very early stage, providing positive results throughout its handling of the pandemic. Initially, all the organisations were focused on logistics and supplies, but by the end of March 2020, Pakistan began collecting data that was reported directly to NCOC. Monitoring and analysing everyday projections became an essential part of Pakistan’s response to covid19. Data collected from testing labs and public-private nonprofit sectors were amalgamated into one public database which would streamline the analysis and prediction process. Electronic interfaces were launched to help the public access this data. An app called Pak Nigehban was launched to keep track of local resources, especially the number of emergency beds available in hospitals. Three different forecasting models were used by the government, but their details were not made public. Although there was a hit and trial scenario in terms of data collection, the overall results of the approach remained positive. Therefore, the use of data from the early stages of the pandemic was one of the most successful strategies of the Pakistani government (WHO, 2021).
Pakistan and SDG 12
Pakistan paints a hopeful picture in terms of SDG 12 implementation. Although challenges remain, a majority of the indicators have shown positive indications. Pakistan’s material footprint rose to its highest amount in 2004 when it reached to 4.6kg per unit of GDP. The last recorded material footprint of Pakistan stood at 3.7kg in 2017. Domestic material consumption increased from 3.7 metric tons per capita in 2000 to 4.4 metric tons in 2017. While electronic waste generation increased from 0.8kg to 2.1kg in 2019. Fossil fuel subsidies have also been reduced significantly as they have come down from 8.5 billion dollars to just 3.2 billion dollars in 2017. This makes the share of fossil fuel pre-tax subsidies just 1 percent of the GDP in 2017 (UN Stats Hub, 2021). Pakistan also successfully developed a National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (NAP-SCP). The Ministry for Climate Change led the process in collaboration with UN Environment. A paradigm shift was promoted to produce high-value products and internalization of environmental costs. Moreover, Pakistan promoted the establishment of climate-resilient infrastructure, optimal extraction of natural resources, cutting of wasteful losses through distribution infrastructure, the introduction of farm crop management techniques, eco-labelling of products, promotion of smart cities, prevention of urban encroachments on agricultural land, recycling and reuse of industrial wastewater, and development of technology parks and incubators. Therefore, it can be said that Pakistan’s efforts towards achieving SDG goal 12 have been substantive and fruitful. (Ministry of Climate Change)
Not only does wasteful consumption harm the environment, but it is also unsustainable for upcoming generations of human societies. Extraction of resources beyond their demand can lead to unforeseen consequences as regeneration of natural reserves takes time. Pakistan is a country rich in natural reserves. With a growing middle class, the demand for consumables will also increase. In order to protect its environment and natural reserves, Pakistan has taken multiple steps that ensure the achievement of SDG goal 12. The country has seen positive results of its policies in many areas, while challenges remain in many others.
Ministry of Climate Change. (n.d.). Pakistan National Action Plan on SDG 12 .
SDG Compass. (2021). SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Retrieved from https://sdgcompass.org/sdgs/sdg-12/
SDGPakistan. (2021). National Initiative for Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.sdgpakistan.pk/web/goals/goal12
UN Stats. (2021). Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-12/
UN Stats Hub. (2021). SDG Country Profile Pakistan . Retrieved from https://country-profiles.unstatshub.org/pak#goal-12