Pakistan

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Social indicators

  • Population growth rate (average annual %)
– 225419 (2010-2015)
  • Urban population growth rate (average annual %)
– 2.8 (2010-2015)
  • Rural population growth rate (average annual %)
– 1.0 (2010-2015)
  • Urban population (%)
– 38.3 (2014)
  • Population aged 0-14 years (%)
– 33.3 (2014)
  • Population aged 60+ years (females and males, % of total)
– 6.6/6.5 (2014)
  • Education: Government expenditure (% of GDP)
– 2.5 (2007-2013)
  • Sex ratio (males per 100 females)
– 105.7 (2014)
  • Life expectancy at birth (females and males, years)
– 67.4/65.6 (2010-2015)
  • Infant mortality rate (per 1 000 live births)
– 65.1 (2010-2015)
  • Fertility rate, total (live births per woman)
– 3.2 (2010-2015 )

Economic Indicators

  • GDP per capita (current US$)
– 1237.6(2013)
  • GDP: Growth rate at constant 2005 prices (annual %)
– 1.6 (2013)
  • GDP: Gross domestic product (million current US$)
– 2836 (2013)

Country’s Environmental Profile

Pakistan is a land of some of the oldest civilization’s in the world. It is the sixth largest nation of the world in terms of population size with an estimated 37 percent of its population living in cities. It is also the most urbanized country in South Asia.

The country is bordered by Iran on the west, Afghanistan on the northwest, China on the northeast, India on the east, and the Arabian Sea on the south. Pakistan lies in the temperate zone. The climate is generally arid, characterized by hot summers and cool or cold winters, and wide variations between extremes of temperature at given locations. There is little rainfall. The country experiences four seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. The onset and duration of these seasons vary somewhat according to location.

Pakistan can be divided into six major natural topographical areas.

  • The northern Mountains and North Western Mountains
  • The Western Mountains
  • The Balochistan Plateau
  • Potwar Plateau and Salt Range
  • The Indus River plain,
  • Desert Areas.

The northern highlands include parts of the Hindu Kush, the Karakoram Range, and the Himalayas. This area includes such famous peaks as Mount Godwin Austen,  at (8,611 meters) the second highest peak in the world , and Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters), the twelfth highest.

South of the northern highlands and west of the Indus River plain are the Safed Koh Range along the Afghanistan border and the Sulaiman Range and Kirthar Range, which define the western extent of the province of Sindh and reach almost to the southern coast. The lower reaches are far more arid than those in the north, and they branch into ranges that run generally to the southwest across the province Balochistan. North-south valleys in Balochistan and Sindh have restricted the migration of peoples along the Makran Coast on the Arabian Sea east toward the plains.

Pakistan’s river system consists of more than 60 small and large rivers. Indus River, with an overall length of around 3200 KM and total estimated annual flow of 207 billion cubic meters, is Pakistan’s longest and largest river. After originating in the highlands of Kailas Mountains of Tibetan Plateau, it runs from north to south through the entire length of the Pakistan and after collecting waters from all other Pakistani Rivers it finally unloads into the Arabian Sea near Karachi. Other famous rivers flowing through Pakistan includes Jhelum River, Chenab River, Ravi River, Sutlej River, and Kabul River etc. All of Pakistan’s major rivers originate in northern highlands of Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindukush mountain ranges and pour one by one into each other and finally into Indus River creating the Indus River Basin, which covers an area of more than 0.6 Million Kilometer square.

Pakistan has over 5700 species of flowering plants reported in the Flora of Pakistan (Nasir and Ali, 1970) with around 400 endemic species and 4 endemic genera (Douepia, Suleimania, Spiroseris, and Wendelboa). The country has around 6000 species of wild plants (Stewart 1972) out of which about 400-600 are considered to be medicinally important.

The mountainous areas embracing the Himalayan, Karakorum and Hindukush Ranges are rich in fauna and flora, as compared to other parts of the country. These areas provide an excellent habitat for wildlife in the form of alpine grazing land, sub-alpine scrub and temperate forests. These habitats support a variety of wild animals. Some of the main wildlife species are the snow leopard, the black and the brown bears, otter, wolf, lynx, Himalayan ibex, Markhor, Bharal, Marco Polo’s sheep, Shapu, musk deer, marmots, tragopan and monal pheasants. Birds of prey like the peregrine, cherrug or saker falcons, tawny eagle, imperial and greater spotted eagles, osprey, shikra, and the black-winged kite occur throughout Pakistan but their population statuses are unknown.

Along the shores, there are four species of marine turtles: the ridley, green, leatherback and hawksbill turtle, which are of high economic importance. Due to loss of habitat and human disturbances, their population is also decreasing. About eight species of freshwater turtles are found in Pakistan. Sand lizards, monitors, geckos, agamas, diamond snakes, sand snakes, vipers, cobras, kraits and the famous Indian python constitute the other reptilian fauna.

Large water bodies in the country support a variety of waterfowl both resident and migratory The wetlands are one of the most important wintering areas and “green routes” of Asia. The important waterfowl in Pakistan are the ducks (mallard, pintail, shoveler, pochard, gargeny, ruddy shellduck, teals, tufted and gadwall), geese (grey lag, bar-headed), coots, flamingoes, pelicans, spoon bills, storks, ibises, plovers, curlews, sand pipers, snipes, and herons.

179 species and sub-species of freshwater fish are reported to exist in Pakistan (15 exotics), including representatives from important groups such as loaches, carps, and catfish (including air-breathing catfish).

  • Threatened species
– 123 (2014)
  • Forested area (% of land area)
– 2.1(2012)
  • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected (%)
– 8.6(2014)
  • Population using improved drinking water sources (%)
– 91.0 ( 2012)
  • Population using improved sanitation facilities (%)
– 48.0( 2012)
  • CO2 emission estimates (000 metric tons and metric tons per capita)
– 163453/0.9 (2011)
  • Energy supply per capita (Gigajoules)
– 17.0 (2012)

Principal Environmental Laws

                     Policies and Strategies

National Biosafety

MEAS signed

  • Basel Convention (ratified it in October 1994.)
  • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety ( ratified it in May, 2009)
  • CBD (Ratified in 26th July 1994)
  • CITES (ratified it in April 1976.)
  • Kyoto Protocol (Ratified in January 2005.)
  • Montreal Protocol (ratified it in December 1992.)
  • Rotterdam Convention (ratified it on 14th July 2005.)
  • Stockholm Convention ( ratified it on 17th April 2008.)
  • UNCCD (ratified it on 24th February, 1997)
  • UNFCCC   (ratified it in June 1994)
  • Vienna Convention (ratified it in December 1992.)
  • Ramsar Convention(Ratified it in July 1976)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (December 1987)
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – (ratified it in February 1997)
  • Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

Environmental Related Reports

State of the Environment (SOE) Reports

Other Reports

  • CBD Reports

Major Environmental Issues:

  • Urban congestion,
  • deteriorating air and water quality and
  • waste management
  • rapid deforestation,
  • biodiversity and habitat loss,
  • crop failure,
  • desertification
  • Land degradation.

Important Web sites

  1. The Official Web Gateway to the Government of Pakistan
  2. National Disaster Management Authority
  3. Environmental Protection Department, Punjab
  4. Departments Forest Environment & Wildlife, Sindh
  5. Environment Department,  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  6. Environmental Protection Agency, Balochistan
  7. Environmental Protection Agency, AJK
  8. Environmental Protection Agency, Gilgit Baltistan
  9. The World Conservation Union (IUCN-Pakistan)
  10. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  11. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Pakistan)