Efforts to create better dwelling places for all

The UN world Habitat day is observed every year on 2nd October with a new resolution of promoting sustainable development policies to create adequate shelter for the inhabitants of the world. One reason for observing this day is to promote the idea that safe and healthy living environment is the basic right of every individual.   This day promotes the idea that common people are also responsible in shaping their cities and urban areas.  Furthermore this day also reminds us that there is a need to protect green urban spaces besides creating jobs and providing clean and safe drinking water for individuals. However the whole idea is to provide individuals adequate shelter and a healthy environment without depleting natural resources.   Unfortunately it is estimated that half the world still lives in extremely poverty therefore many impoverished societies in the world still have to cut down trees for their survival. These impoverished communities in many parts of the world are inadvertently causing damage to the environment.  It is obvious that the world is experiencing environmental degradation at a high rate due to overpopulation, land disturbance, deforestation, and landfills besides ecological issues causing natural disasters.   However the earth is blessed with tremendous renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.  The renewable resources include water, vegetative land, trees and animals whereas nonrenewable resources are minerals, soil and fossil fuels.  It has been witnessed that better natural resource governance can improve the lives of local communities. Many projects by international organizations promoting sustainable development and better natural resource governance have been implemented in economically poor countries that are rich in natural resources. These projects have been successful to some extent in improving the lives of people especially women. For instance as stated in ICUN report several years ago a Bangladeshi woman Bulu Rani Bishah as a result of a project was able to establish her own fish sanctuary and nursery and a high tech water pump.  As a result of her prosperity this woman had her own savings account to support her family besides planning to plant a fruit orchard.

Fortunately Pakistan is blessed with tremendous renewable and non-renewable resources such as water, fisheries, animals, vegetative land, gas, oil, minerals and gemsIt is quite unfortunate that Pakistan has the lowest resource efficacy among the Asian countries. Pakistan has experienced a massive degradation and depletion of its natural resources owing mostly to over population.  Furthermore the industrial and agricultural development had been pursued without adopting appropriate measures for environmental sustainability. The industrial waste has polluted lakes, rivers and ponds deteriorating the quality of water. It has been witnessed that water borne diseases are becoming more and more common in Pakistan.   It is high time that both the government and civil society should implement more and more programs for sustainable development and better natural resource governance.  Better governance of renewable natural resources is not only beneficial in reducing poverty but can become a contributing factor in providing a safe and healthy living environment.  Therefore observing the world habitat day can be useful in creating awareness among local communities in making them realize their responsibility in shaping the future of their cities. However Pakistani government must implement policies for better natural resource governance and sustainable development in order to create a safe and healthy environment for its citizens and the future generations.

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