LEGAL, POLICY, AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
The previous section discusses the context of forests in Pakistan. particularly focusing dhotis, a deforestation and forest agrarian.). II is intrinsically Important to understand the governance system and laws regulating the forests M Pakistan to rat the gas and changes within the system objectively. This section will not only elaborate on the international commitments concerning forestry and emissions bit also will address the national legal framework lo regulate the forests in Pakistan at the nations and provincial level. It also assesses other sector prides that have an Empact on the forestry sector.
Current policies alongside legal and institutional frameworks are the foundations for the REDD+ Strategy. This chapter presents an overview of the current policies and laws Kievan to REDD+ as well as the institutional arrangements already in place. Some of the items described in this chapter set the manillas for the occurrence of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and are addressed with the implementation framework.
Widely adopted treaties present the closest option available to international norms for resource management and environmental protection. Pakistan has made a portal commitment to address sustainability issues through the intuition of international treaties on the environment and climate change that have Intended positive impacts for is forests, ecosystems, and land management. Pakistan has signed and ratified inter alia
. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered species,
. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Including its decisions and agreements),
. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
. The Convention on Biological Diversity
. The Convention of Migratory Species
. The Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer
. The Montreal Protocol on Ozone Layer Depleting Substances, and the Ramsar Conversion on Wetlands.
Given that Pakistan is a dualist state, even though the international agreements may be signed, domestic competence is not mandatory or binding until they me ratted through herniation into national legislation. Legal Framework Pakistan, a federated county of four propane, and three territories Gilgit Baltistan (GiB). And Jammu Kashmir (A.K). and the federal administered Tribal Area (FATA), has an extensive set of regulations regaling nasal resources, land tenure, and institutional arrangements that are relevant to REDD+ The section presents the most relevant ones.
Legislative and executive powers are Makled between the Federation and the Provinces by the Constitution of Pakistan. 1973.The Federation is also imbued who all legislative and executive powers in respect of the FAT& whereas MK and GA, although not de jure provinces of Pakistan, are under the de facto administrate control of the Federation, with legislative and executive function between them and the Federation being regulated by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution Act. 1974 (AJK Interim constitution) and the Gilgit Baltistan (Empowerment and See Governance) Order. 2009 (GB Order) respectively.
After the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. the subject of the environment including forests and all related matters. including the implementation of the United Nations framework Convention on Ornate Change (UNFCCC) and the Cancun Agreement on Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD.). is within the exclusive purview of the Provinces of Pakistan. both wean the legislative and executive policy space. The role of the Parliament and the Federal Government in relation to this subject. at least in a direct sense. has been reduced to legislation and policy taking only to the extent of such areas in the Federation Mica are not included in any province (i.e., the Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federal), Administered Tribal Areas).
In respect of the territories of AJK and G-B, the forests of AJK are within the exclusive legislative domain of the Legislative Assembly of AJK and the executive domain of the AJK Government as per the AJK Interim Constitution. Under the G-B Order, the forests of G-B are within the exclusive legislative and executive domain of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, with the Prime Minister of Pakistan as its Chairman, who may exercise the executive authority, vested in the Council directly or through the Secretariat of the Council. The primary legal regime determining the legal categories of forest land in Pakistan and their governance is the Forest Act 1927 (‘Forest Act’).
The Forest Act is applicable in three of the four provinces, as well as having been extended to Gilgit-Baltistan. While KP has repealed the Forest Act and replaced it with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Ordinance, 2002, the Forest Ordinance co-opts the major legal categories of forests laid down in the Forest Act itself. The other provinces have made periodical amendments to the Forest Act, with Punjab having made the most significant overhaul of its provisions. The primary legislation concerning AJK is the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Regulation [No.2 of 1936] (‘AJK Forest Regulation’), which retains, in essence, the same legal categories of forest land as the Forest Act. although under different nomenclature.
Classification of Forests
Government, with varying degrees of private rights and activity allowed within each class of forests. In addition, the relevant laws for each province and the territories, and the rules and regulations made, also provide for the regulation and management of certain classes of private forests. The specific sub-classification of forests within the larger categories of Government Forests and Private Forests is as follows:
Legal Classification of Forests in Pakistan
The various sub-categories falling under the broad categories of Government Forests and Private Forests may be clubbed together as follows to allow for the analysis of legal categories of forests and their governance mechanisms at a national level, as opposed to a sub-national level.
- Reserved Forest, State Forest, and Demarcated Forest These three categories are similar in that they are the strictest categories of forests from the perspective of governance. These forests generally exclude all private rights and privileges unless the Government has specifically sanctioned these. As such, almost any act that harms the forest in general, including the trees and other forest resources therein, is prohibited within these forests.
- Protected Forest and Un-demarcated Forest Regarding the governance of forests, these two classes of forests are similar. Within these forests, all activities are permitted unless these have been specifically proscribed either through a notification by the relevant Government in this respect or through the promulgation of rules in respect of such matters. However, any contravention of such notification or rules, once issued, is a punishable offense. 3. Village Forests and Community Forests (‘Assigned Forests) Throughout Pakistan, the relevant Provincial Government may assign to any village community, the rights of the Government to or over any land, which has been constituted a reserved forest (or in the case of AJK, over land which has been entered into settlement records as Khalsa (`crown’) land). Such forests would be called village forests.
The Forest Ordinance goes further in this respect and also provides for the formation of community forests in KP, whereby the Divisional Forest Officer may assign to any village forest community, village organization, or Joint Forest Management Committee, all or any of its rights of management over any protected forest, Guzara forest, and protected wasteland. Such assigned forests would be governed by the assignee subject to any rules formulated by the relevant Provincial Government for the management of the assigned forests.
1. Guzara Forests,
Protected Wasteland, and Community Forests Guzara Forests, Protected Wastelands, and Community Forests are similar concerning the fact that these are lands within the common ownership of a village in whose vicinity these are located. However, the law provides that these will be managed by the Forest Department, including the regulation of private rights and prohibition of certain acts within these types of private forests, even by the right-holders to such forests. Generally, most acts that may harm the forest or certain types of valuable trees are prohibited within these types of forests, even by the village owners of these forests. However, the village owners are granted certain subsistence rights within these forests to meet their genuine domestic needs as determined by the relevant Provincial Government, such as the right to a quota of trees from these forests for residential construction, fuelwood, and grazing, etc.
2. Section 36
Forests With the exception of KP and AJK, for certain specified public purposes, such as protection against natural phenomena (e.g., floods and avalanches), protection of public works, and preservation of public health, the Government may regulate or prohibit certain acts in any forest or wasteland including a private forest.
In the case of a violation of such prohibition, under Section 36 of the Forest Act, the Government may place such forest under the supervision of a forest officer and declare that the provisions of the Forest Act in respect of a reserved forest apply to it.
3. Section 38
Forests With the exception of AJK, the owner(s) of any land (specifically wasteland, however, in the case of KP) may hand over management of such land (or wasteland) to the Government to be managed by the Forest Department as a reserved or protected forest on such terms as may be mutually agreed or that all the provisions of the Forest Act (or Forest Ordinance in the case of KP) be applicable thereto.
Uses of the Forests
The permitted uses of the forests are connected to the legal category within which a particular forest may fall. Where the Government regulates a category of the forest, it does so through the prohibition of certain acts within those forests rather than by positively defining the rights that a private person may enjoy within those forests.
With the exception of Reserved Forests (and the equivalent legal categories of State Forest and Demarcated Forest described above), all forest categories at least allow for private persons, such as members of forest-dependent communities, to make subsistence use of the forests and forest produce subject to regulation by the Government. Therefore, for example, unless the Government specifically prohibits this through a notification or by making rules in this regard, within a Protected Forest, private persons may, inter alia, use the trees by felling and lopping them, extract and use forest produce, as well as clear the forest for cultivation and use it for the grazing of animals.
Within Reserved Forests, (and other equivalent categories under other provincial laws), if a forest has been classified as Reserved, most uses of that forest by private individuals are prohibited unless specifically sanctioned by the Government. Of course, the Government itself enjoys apparent carte blanche, subject to its administrative regulation, about the uses that it may make of the forests under its ownership. With regard to private forests, to the extent that these are not regulated by the Government under a relevant provision of the prevailing legal regime in each
of the provinces and territories (as delineated above), the private owners of these forests enjoy all the rights that come attached with ownership, including the harvesting of trees and forest produce. It is noteworthy that while the above is the position under the law, regardless of the legal classification of forests and the concomitant rights of the Government and private persons, since 1993, there has effectively been a general ban on commercial timber harvesting in Pakistan, put into effect through a cabinet decision of the Federal Government.
Other Laws and Regulations
Environmental Protection Act the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 (PEPA) provides that parties desiring to commence a project must submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and/or an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) to the Federal Agency and obtain approval thereof from the Federal Agency. A project is very widely defined as ‘any activity, plan, scheme, proposal or undertaking involving any change in the environment,’ including ‘mineral prospecting, mining, quarrying, stone-crushing, drilling and the like’ and ‘any change of land use or water use.
‘The IEE is a preliminary environmental review of the reasonably foreseeable impacts of a project, and it serves to evaluate if the project will have an adverse environmental impact and therefore require an EIA. The EIA is a detailed environmental study comprising a collection of data; prediction of qualitative and quantitative impacts; comparison of alternatives; evaluation of preventive, mitigative, and compensatory measures; formulation of management and training plans, and monitoring arrangements. In addition, PEPA provides for several penalties for the breach of its provisions, including fines, imprisonment, closure of the project, and the confiscation of project assets involved in the infraction.
AJK and G-B have enacted their own Environmental Protection Acts, which mirror the provisions of PEPA in respect of the above requirements concerning the environmental impacts of a project. As such, any project to be carried out on forest land which may have an adverse environmental impact would have to satisfy the above requirements to proceed. This includes mining operations within forest land. In addition, some of the provincial environmental pieces of legislation provide for periodic environmental monitoring as well as environmental audits and reviews of projects that have been granted approval to operate.
Mining Concession Rules Each of the provinces has mining concession rules/mineral rules formulated under the Mineral Development (Government Control) Act, 1948 and the National Mineral Policy, 1995. Also, AJK and G-B have also promulgated their own mining and mineral concession rules along similar lines as those of the provinces. In each of the mining concession rules /mineral rules for the provinces, there` are certain provisions in relation to mining concessions being granted within reserved and protected forest areas.
These require, in general, that it shall be the condition of every mineral title that before the commencement of exploration operations within a reserved or protected forest, thirty (30) days’ written notice shall be given to the Forest Department, and operations may commence only subject to any condition regarding the use of land that may be prescribed by the Government, the Licensing Authority and/or the Forest Department, (as applicable depending on the nature and scale of the mining to be carried out within the scheme of the rules for each Province). Generally, the mining concession rules/mineral rules do not envisage a significant role for the Forest Department about the granting of mining concessions within public forests as they should have, given that the Forest Department is the custodian of public forests. instead, this authority is invested in the respective Licensing Authorities of the Province.
Legal Provisions for Carbon Rights
Formally, there are no explicit provisions in the legal and policy framework concerning forests in relation to the rights of ownership to the carbon stored in trees. Presumably, the carbon rights in a forest are subsumed within the larger ownership rights about a given forest. This would mean that the Government would retain the carbon rights in forests that are government-owned, whereas private (individual or community) owners would retain the carbon rights in their forests, subject to the law. Amendments are required to the legislative framework to establish the carbon rights clearly.
Since REDD+ only countenances the participation of the national government in the carbon market, amendments are required to the legislative framework to create a mechanism to allow the Federal Government or Provincial Governments to trade forest carbon for the specific purpose of participation in the international REDD+ compensation mechanism without transferring the carbon rights or the right to the results-based benefits. A legislative amendment may be necessary in this respect, as the same result may not be achieved through a policy instrument, given Article 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan regarding the protection of property rights, which stipulates that a person’s property rights may not be acquired by the Government, even temporarily, save in accordance with the law.
The National Forest Policy, promulgated in 2015, addresses the forestry sector directly. It has two main policy objectives: (a) the expansion of forest cover and (b) the curbing of deforestation and promotion of forest conservation. Under the first head of expansion of forest cover, the National Forest Policy proposes three policy measures towards this objective, these being:
(i) preparing, sponsoring and implementing a long-term mass afforestation programme in collaboration with all the federating units and concerned national organizations;
(ii) the integration of forests with economic sectors in that project undertaken in any sector having a cross-cutting impact on forests, such as water, energy, agriculture, tourism and communication, amongst others would have to take impact on forests and afforestation as part of their development policies and programmes and allocate part of their cost towards afforestation.
(iii) the establishment and promotion of sustainable ecological corridors to minimize fragmentation of ecosystems.
The other main policy objective of curbing deforestation and promoting conservation Is planned to be achieved through the following policy measures:
(i) regulating inter-provincial timber movement and trade in particular through the establishment of a Timber Regulatory Authority;
(ii) ensuring both the implementation of REDD+ in Pakistan and the full transfer of benefits arising therefrom, such as payments for preserving carbon stock, to forest owners and right-holders; (Hi) retiring the rights to public forests and purchase of privately owned forests and converting the same to protected forests through prior informed consent of owners and adequate compensation.
Apart from the National Forest Policy, the other policies outside the forestry sector directly or indirectly linked to, or influencing forests include those of climate change, agriculture, minerals, tourism, water, and energy. Among the national policies approved by a competent forum are the Climate Change Policy 2012, Environment Policy 2005, Minerals Policy 2013, and Power Policy 2014. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment on Provincial Subjects, Pakistan’s provinces have developed their policies for some of these areas. The following provides an overview of policies influencing forests.
The National Climate Change Policy 2012
It includes necessary provisions to address climate change-related issues for various topics, such as water, agriculture, forestry, coastal areas, biodiversity, and other vulnerable ecosystems. It also discusses industrial emissions and carbon footprint in different industries and implications for climate. The Policy proposes various alternatives to mitigate the possible effects of climate change on vulnerable and other ecosystems. It also reflects on coping with the challenges emerging from climate change.
The policy has extensively covered forestry and a range management sectors. Specific recommendations have been given to benefit from the REDD+ mechanism. The REDD+ Strategy can bank on the Climate Change Policy as an important supporting instrument within the complex policy framework of Pakistan. This support includes forest management, mitigating drivers of deforestation, and working on technological improvements to reduce carbon and other emissions. The National Environment Policy 2006 provides comprehensive guidelines for natural resource sectors and related topics, including forestry, biodiversity and protected areas, agriculture, livestock, and water. It also covers other important topics, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate change, and ozone depletion. The policy encourages the protection and preservation of biodiversity, including forests, use of energy efficient technologies, handling climate change issues, and improvement of agriculture and livestock productivity under a changing environmental scenario.
Pakistan’s National Mineral Policy
It was developed in 2013 after a long consultation process with sector stakeholders. One of the themes of the National Mineral Policy 2013 is environmentally sustainable exploration, development, and production of minerals. It also envisages the mitigation of adverse environmental effects of mineral development, facilitation of access to private or public lands and forest reserves, and resolution of issues with other public department civil servants. Section 7.3 deals with the environment and binds the explorative companies to observe safeguards on the protection of the environment, highlighting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, it has been observed that while some sections work toward mitigating adverse environmental impacts, including those on forests, their implementation is not very effective due to low inter-departmental coordination and inefficient monitoring and control.
Pakistan’s National Power Policy
It was promulgated in 2013. The National Power Policy recommends the generation of inexpensive and affordable energy sources and focuses on shifting Pakistan’s energy mix toward low-cost sources, such as hydro, gas, solar, nuclear, and biomass. The policy also mentions coal as a source of energy and recommends coal with appropriate mitigating measures for reducing carbon and sulfur emissions. A cheap supply of electricity may reduce pressure on forests; however, the generation of energy from biomass could be carefully carried out. The National Renewable Energy Policy(2006) underlines the importance of renewable energy resources and emphasizes benefiting from the enormous potential of solar, hydro, wind, and biomass (bagasse, crop residues, livestock manure, etc.).
Appropriate strategies in this respect can reduce pressure on forests due to fuelwood extraction. As far as tourism policy is concerned, work was initiated on the formulation of a new National Tourism Policy. However, the Policy issued in 1990 and updated in 2007 has not been able to propose any tangible preventive or mitigation measures, despite recognition of the environmental spoilage caused by tourism. In addition, the revised policy from 2007 coincided with a phase of terrorism between 2007-2012, when tourism dropped significantly. As of 2014, it had failed to envisage the expanded scale and challenges of local tourism.
The latest National Food Security Policy2018, which recommends the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices, has emphasized efficient and sustainable use of rangelands and forests to ensure sustainable intensification of livestock and crop systems in these environmentally fragile areas. However, it does not discuss forestry, farm forestry, or agroforestry in any sufficient detail. In addition, it does not discuss the issue of livestock grazing having an adverse impact on forest regeneration.
The Pakistan National Rangeland Policy
It was drafted in 2010. It discusses rehabilitation, management, and mitigation of the impacts of global warming and climate change on the rangelands. It has remained in draft form and has not been approved yet. The policy supports the protection and rehabilitation of scrub forests for better forage production but does not provide for the improvement of tree growth on rangelands. However, it does promote the need for practicing agroforestry and farm forestry on farmlands near rangelands and pastures.
The National Water Policy 2018 discusses concerns about an increase in water scarcity and emphasizes the judicious use of the limited water resource across all sectors. It provides measures for climate change adaptation, improving watershed management through extensive soil conservation, catchment area treatment, preservation of forest, increasing forest cover, and restoring and maintaining the health of the environment and ecology. It provides for protection of wetlands and Ramsar Sites for the conservation of wildlife, flora and fauna, and for stopping further seawater intrusion into the Indus River (upstream from the coastline) for the sustenance of coastal environment, flora and fauna, and mangrove growth. The recommendations of the policy are critical for some of the important forest ecosystems of Pakistan, including mangroves, junipers, and northern alpine areas.
All the provinces, as well as AJK and G-B, accord high priority to the subject of climate change due to its impacts on almost all aspects of life. Some of the provinces have drafted their policies regarding climate change, while others have either developed or are developing strategies and plans for implementation of the National Climate Change policy to cope with the possible impacts of climate change. The draft Climate Change Policies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (2016) and Punjab (2017) emphasize the protection and conservation of existing forest resources and the enhancement of forest carbon sinks through the pursuit of afforestation and reforestation programmes. The KP policy has proposed both adaptations and mitigation measures. The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Climate Change Policy were approved in 2017. G-B is proposing similar actions and activities in the plans and strategies under preparation as a follow up to the National Climate Change Policy.
The Agriculture Policy of KP offers a ten-year perspective (2015-2025). R has attributed the recent natural disasters in the province to climate change and has proposed measures to deal with them. However, no specific recommendations for enhancing tree cover on farmlands or elsewhere have been provided, although references have been made to one particular project. The Billion Tree Tsunami No institutional mechanisms have been recommended, but measures for soil, water, biodiversity conservation, and rangelands development have been proposed.
The Punjab Agriculture Policy 2013 (draft) includes addressing the issues of climate change and environmental pollution due to the burning of crop residues (particularly the burning of rice straw, which in recent years has contributed to winter smog). Measures for encouraging farm forestry have also been proposed. The Punjab Environment Policy 2015 (draft) sets forth guidelines and proposes actions for the protection of the environment and natural resources. It also recommends measures for coping with the challenges arising from environmental degradation. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan have drafted Rangeland Policies for sustainable management of rangelands and pastures in various ecological zones. Measures for mitigation of climate change impacts and protection of the environment have been recommended in these Policies.
KP Mineral Development Policy of 2014 urges an elimination and mitigation of adverse environmental degradation of mining. No mining operations will be permitted without an Initial Environmental Examination Report, or an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (depending on the case) having been compiled, evaluated, and approved by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Agency (KP-EPA). The KP Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Ordinance 2016 directs that a holder of a mineral title not cut or injure any tree on government land or in reserved forests without prior permission in writing issued by the Licensing Authority or by an officer the Government may authorize in this regard.
The cutting is also permissible under the relevant law. Operations in reserved and protected forests shall be conducted subject to precautions regarding prevention of fire and conservation of forest, as the licensee or the lessee may from time to time be required to perform by the Licensing Authority. The Draft Punjab Mineral Policy2017 envisions having a modern, innovative, dynamic, and private sector-driven mineral sector that is environmentally responsible, socially sustainable, and safe. Under the policy, it requires that the Punjab Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for carrying out the mineral activity in the areas marked under Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries land. Similar policies requiring NOCs from the Forest Department also widely exist, for example, in other provinces, AJK, and G-B.
The Punjab Tourism Policy 2009 is based on the principles of building environmental and cultural awareness and respect and providing a positive experience for both visitors and hosts. It proposes the promotion of ecotourism that would involve a selective approach, scientific planning, effective control, and continuous monitoring. However, due to various departmental reasons, the policy and its different aspects have not yet fully materialized for the tourism sector as a whole. The KP Tourism Policy 2015 values the principle of sustainable development, which dictates that the level of development does not exceed the carrying capacity of an area. Tourism development needs to be properly guided and regulated to avoid any adverse impact on the natural environment.
A conscious balance needs to be maintained between development and conservation. For this reason, the Policy envisions adding additional tourist spots to reduce the tourism burden on existing hot spots. The AJK and G-B Tourism Departments also believe in sustainable tourism development that assures conservation of the environment and natural resources in their respective areas. Given the available potential, ecotourism is considered to be the most appropriate option for adoption in these areas.
Provisions within Laws that May Potentially Allow for Change of Land Use of Forests
Although the corpus of laws in Pakistan are not generally designed to allow for-a change of land use of forests, it still sometimes allows competing for commercial and strategic interests to dominate the preservation of forests and forest lands. Each of the Forest Act, the Forest Ordinance, the Balochistan Forest Regulation, and the AJK Forest Regulation respectively allow the Government to declare that a forest or a portion thereof is no longer reserved, or a state forest or a demarcated forest as the case may be.
This is an unrestricted power, and the Government need not have a prior justification for changing the status of a forest in this manner. The province of Punjab, however, has amended Section 27 of the Forest Act to provide that the Government shall not declare or notify a reserved forest, or any part thereof as no longer being reserved and further that the Government shall not allow change in the land use of a reserved forest except for the purpose of right of way, building of roads and development of a forest park, but the Government shall not allow construction of concrete building or permanent structure therein.
However, through a further amendment to Section 27 the Government of Punjab may declare a reserved forest. or a part thereof, as no longer reserved if the organization requiring the reserved forest land is able to a) satisfy the Government that there is no other option but to use the reserved forest land for the purposes of a national project of strategic importance; b) provide substitute fertile land equal to or bigger than the required reserved forest land, in a compact form and situated close to the reserved forest land; or c) provide funds for immediate forestation and maintenance of the substitute forest land.
In Punjab, Section 34-A mirrors the provisions of the amended Section 27 of the Forest Act in empowering the Government to declare a forest as no longer protected for certain specific purposes and subject to certain conditions and safeguards in this regard to be fulfilled by an organization seeking the protected forest land for a project. The laws of the other provinces and Gilgit Baltistan; however, do not envisage the declaration of a forest as no longer protected.
Similar to the provisions in the Punjab Forest laws, the declaration of a forest as no longer reserved or protected should not be allowed except where this is demonstrably the only option available in subservience to a “national project of strategic importance” and in no other circumstances. And even then, adequate substitute forestation should specifically be provided for. In another instance of competing for commercial interests, in each of the mining concession and mineral rules for the provinces, there are certain provisions in relation to mining concessions that have been granted within reserved and protected forest areas.
However, these mining concession rules/mineral rules do not envisage a significant role for the Forest Department in relation to the granting of mining concessions in the first place, and instead, this authority is invested in the respective licensing authorities of the province. This militates against the role of the Forest Department as custodian of public forests reducing it to rubber stamping mining concessions after the fact of their approval by the provincial licensing authorities. The laws in this respect need to be amended to allow for greater coordination between the licensing authorities and the Forest Department at every stage of the mining concession approval process from the very inception. In particular, a high threshold should be set for the justification for seeking a mining concession within forest land.
Link to Drivers of Deforestation While the forest laws provide an effective framework for the categorization, protection, and preservation of forests and forest lands, the implementation of the framework leaves much to be desired. At the administrative level, the forest laws suffer from the lack of support of an effective land use planning policy that will prevent a conflict of land use priorities arising in relation to forest land. As a result, competing interests such as mining, agriculture, and infrastructure can outweigh the need for the protection of forests. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of a comprehensive policy for forests that fosters coordination and cooperation between the various public stakeholders thereby creating an operational environment where government departments are unable to navigate the intersection of their administrative spheres jointly.
As a result, other government departments currently see themselves in competition with the forest department where their administrative spheres overlap, which in turn puts pressure on the forest land and forest resources for change in land use.
In relation to the drivers of deforestation, inadequate penalties for forest offenses in the forest laws and the weak on ground enforcement of the forest laws contributes to deforestation and forest degradation. In the first instance, a lack of resources at the level of forest officer and below prevents effective policing against forest offenses. Without drastically increasing the resources at the disposal of the forest department, this situation could be ameliorated through more organized community participation as provided in the forest laws, e.g., through the mechanism of village forests, but this has not been the case in practice. More robust use of the community participation provisions in the forest laws would be welcome to support the forest department in its role as protector and conservator of forests.
Furthermore, the successful and timely prosecution of forest offenses is thwarted by a judiciary that has not been specifically trained to deal with these matters, leading to a large backlog of old cases, with new cases being added to the docket all the time. Training and sensitization of the judiciary to deal specifically with forest offenses in an efficient manner would be required to dissuade criminal actors that are currently encouraged by the prospect of a year-long trial process that may not even culminate in conviction. The cases registered against forest offenses need to be summarily dispensed, and the penalties imposed immediately in order to create a more effective policing environment for forest offenses.
Finally, the penalties for forest offences are incommensurate with the economic pay-out for forest offences creating a perverse incentive for forest offenders to violate the provisions of forest laws and reap immediate benefits because the penalty, if and when it accrues, is minimal in absolute terms and therefore does not measure up to the requirements of an effective deterrent. The scale of forest offense penalties, therefore, need to be revised to thwart forest offenses as part of a systematic policing process for forest offenses.
As discussed in the section, the current legal system concerning forests, despite efforts made in the last few years to update, is rooted in laws that were developed in the earlier part of last century. Some provincial laws have been improved. However, they cover only part of the overall forestry domain, often miss on the emission control regime, and have fewer connections with the current technologically advanced ecosystem of global forestry. To transform the legal and governance system, the role of institutions becomes important.
It is pertinent to mention that while forestry is a provincial subject in Pakistan, international obligations entail strong institutions at the national level. In addition, the challenges mentioned in this section, it is also important that the national and provincial institutions and stakeholders assess and improve the current laws, systems, and capacities of the departments, to be able to respond to challenges posed by the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, as mentioned in section 1. This makes it critical to understand the institutional arrangements in Pakistan and the roles these institutions hold. The next section 3.6 will discuss the institutional arrangement and the gaps therein.
The current laws and policies related to forests in Pakistan are implemented by the provincial forest departments in all the federating units. While the implementation is the responsibility of departments, the design and promulgation of laws are the sole responsibility of the national legislature (National Assembly and Senate). As for the policies, the relevant ministry (Provincial or National) is responsible for the design and is only enforced after the approval of the relevant government. With this understanding and the discussions in the previous section related to the legal framework, it is also important to recognize the forest-related architecture and roles of different institutions. As stated in the previous section, the executive powers between the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments are delineated by the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. Since forests are a provincial matter, the Provincial Governments have exclusive executive authority in this respect. Under the AJK Interim Constitution and the G-B Order, the executive authority in respect of the subject of forests resides with the AJK Government and the Gilgit-Baltistan Council respectively.
In the case of FATA, the executive authority remains with the Federal Government under Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The Climate Change Council to be formed under the Pakistan Climate Change Act, 2017 would count amongst its members the Prime Minister (or his/her nominee), Federal Ministers for various divisions, including climate change, finance, agriculture, water and power, etc., the Chief Ministers of the provinces and the Ministers-in-charge of the departments concerned with environment within a province, among others. These ministers could most certainly play a key role in the implementation of REDD+ in Pakistan, especially since the specific functions of the Council include implementation of international agreements relating to climate change including the UNFCCC and coordinating, supervising, and mainstreaming climate change concerns into decision-making by the Federal and Provincial Governments.
The Climate Change Act also envisages the creation of the Climate Change Authority, which would consist of scientists, academics, professionals, serving or retired government servants, industrialists, and other technocrats with at least fifteen years of experience in fields related to climate change. This Authority would work under the aegis of the Pakistan Climate Change Council and among other functions would provide a framework for mitigating and adapting to the effects of changing the climate.
This includes formulating comprehensive adaptation and mitigation policies, plans, and programmes designed to address the effects of climate change within the framework of the national climate change policy. These two bodies could prove to be key in the implementation of the REDD+ in Pakistan, given their specific mandates. Within the Federal Government, the MoCC is responsible for the national climate change and disaster management policy, plans, strategies, and programs. Its mandate includes environmental protection, preservation, pollution, ecology, forestry, wildlife, biodiversity, and desertification.
MoCC, is also responsible for the coordination, monitoring, and implementation of international environmental agreements, and it obviously has a coordinating role to play that it also currently fulfills. Direct executive authority in relation to forests and related matters is vested in the Forest Department of each of the provinces and the territories, and this Department5should be at the vanguard of any push towards implementing REDD+ in Pakistan. Unfortunately, a dearth of inter-departmental coordination is on display when it comes to issues that affect the forests within a province, with the result that decisions made within other departments, such as mining, livestock, and agriculture, can have deleterious effects on forests, as these decisions may not have been taken with the necessary input of the forest department.
This could include, for example, the grant of mining concessions and a push towards the expansion of agricultural land without accounting for the consequent externalities faced by forests. Better interdepartmental coordination could be ensured through a supervisory role to be played by an interdepartmental coordination body, such as the Climate Change Council. Currently, REDD+ issues are coordinated in the MoCC under the Office of the Inspector General of Forests, which is also the national focal point for the UNFCCC on REDD+. The IGF office has a team in place organized by the National REDD+ Office, leading the preparation activities for the REDD+ Readiness Project, financed by the FCPF.
However, this is not a permanent structure. As part of the Project, additional arrangements have been created, such as a National Steering Committee, Technical Working Groups, and equivalent structures at the provincial level.
Assessment of Institutional Arrangements, Policies, and Governance Pakistan has updated forest and climate change policies at the national level. However, most provinces have yet to produce approved forest policies. Only two provinces have approved forest policies, and one territory has an approved climate change policy. The land use policies have not been developed so far by the provinces and at the national level. Forest laws are not always consistent and clear, and in almost all the provinces they are outdated and do not take into account climate change issues. Over time, conservation of forests and ecosystem services has been assigned lesser priority than economic gains from forests. National, sector, and forest development plans do not address the drivers of deforestation. Forest management plans, which do somewhat address the drivers of deforestation, are not available to many forest divisions in the country.
However, the plans are neither regularly updated, nor is the prescription of the plan applied to the letter or in spirit. Private sector involvement has been minimum, and mainly confined to planting trees on private lands. Only in Punjab Province has the private sector been involved in forestry under a public-private partnership, but that too has occurred only recently, and the results are yet to materialize. It is perceived that existing laws are not difficult to comply with; however, there is no full compliance.
Additionally, the forest laws and policies are supposedly gender-neutral, but in practice, women seldom participate in forest-related decisions. Tenure regarding carbon and genetic resources is unclear in the existing laws. The traditional and indigenous rights of grazing and those of collection of firewood or NTFPs are indeed recognized by the law and are practiced differently in different legal types of forests and at diverse locations. However, the law does not fully harmonize formal and informal rights to forest resources everywhere. The laws tend to empower government officers unilaterally, and there is little in the way of absolute protection for indigenous and traditional rights under the current legislative framework. The mechanisms of tenure-related dispute resolution are ineffective, sluggish, and expensive. The law expressly allows the government to share or transfer management authority of public forest to local communities.
The formal Forest Service in the subcontinent including Pakistan was created in the. British era in 1RR4. while the Forestry School was established in 1878 in Dehra Dun. Soon after, the first Inspector General of Forests was appointed to lay the foundation of scientific forest management in this part of the world. Preparation of forest working plans was begun to manage the forests on sustainable basis. The Forest Service in Pakistan began soon after its creation in 1947. Initially it was called West Pakistan Forest Service. Which terminated with the creation of four provinces: namely. Balochistan. Northwest Frontier: Province (NWFP) now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Punjab. and Sindh in July 1970. (Igbal. et al. 2014)
The national development policies are not always entirely supportive of sustainability in the forest sector. The sectors which directly depend on or affect forests generally do not support forest conservation. Only the National Highway Authority (NHA) and the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) have provided for forest-related activities, but much less than the desired level. The official mechanisms for cross-sectoral coordination are almost non-existent. In the case of donor-supported development projects, the coordination mechanism exists in the form of a project steering committee or another similar body.
The government development policies which overlook forests and the lack of cross-sectoral coordination and to the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. Mandates of national agencies are not always in conformity with each other. Mandates of national and subnational governments are also contested. The budgets are not always based on national provincial goals for sustainable management of forests and are somewhat biased towards high-revenue-producing resources or donor-funded projects, or other narrow issues, perhaps to the detriment of sustainable management of all resources.
Most of the provincial forest agencies had a serious lack of appropriate information technology and trained staff to use it. Lack of financial resources is another major constraint impeding the implementation of laws. It is considered that the collection, sharing, and redistribution systems of taxes, royalties, charges, and rents are largely ineffective. As far as budget spending is concerned, the spending does mostly follow the published budget, but there are sometimes shortfalls or changes in allocations among programs. The discussions in previous sections have tried to understand the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, the laws concerning them and also the institutions responsible for implementing the laws and policies.
The gradual increase in deforestation and forest degradation is an indication of the failure of the current social, legal, policy and institutional regime. This also indicates the economic sphere as an important stimulus for the offenders to take advantage of the weaknesses in the systems. The strategy has strived to address this through a suggested strategic framework for the REDD+ regime in Pakistan, to provide a vision, institutional arrangements, strategy options and roadmap that can contribute towards addressing the drivers and improving the state of forests in Pakistan.