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Infrastructure in Fragile Ecosystems: A Case of Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Discussion paper
This discussion paper assesses the socio-economic and environmental hazards that may occur due to the proposed diversion of Shatung river, situated at Deosai plains of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. A plan to divert Shatung river into Satpara Dam already exists; the plan is to increase the latter’s power generation capacity and to satisfy the increasing domestic, industrial and public water needs of Skardu Town and the adjacent villages during the low flow/winter season. However, no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been conducted so far. Only the locally-active environmental protection bodies have put up some resistance against this plan arguing that the diversion would primarily violate the Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife Protection, Preservation and Management Act, 1975. During the investigation for this discussion paper, it was learnt that the diversion may result in serious damages to the ecology of the Deosai National Park (DNP) and its existing flora and fauna fed by Shatung river. Moreover, the requirements of Satpara Dam and expected outcomes of the diversion might not be achieved when the river water level decreases in winter season. If the diversion takes place, it would have serious implications for the fragile alpine ecosystem of Deosai plateau, and its biodiversity.
 

Impact of 18 Constitutional Amendment on Governance of Renewable Energy in Pakistan

Study

What impact does the 18th Constitutional Amendment have on Renewable Energy and sustainability in Pakistan? This study explores the institutional setup around renewable energy at both the provincial and the federal levels and analyses the mandate of the institutional arrangements. It also highlights the challenges to renewable energy growth that have emerged after the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. 
 

Perspectives Asia: DigitalAsia

Over the last years, Asia has undergone an impressive digital transformation. Large parts of the continent have turned from the world’s factory into a creative industry.The different contributions across the continent highlight both the opportunities and risks of digitalization in Asia.

Psycho-physical Effects of Environment Pollution on the Health of Kabul Citizens

This research is conducted with collaboration of a team of researchers who are expert in the field of environment and laboratory sciences, and psychology with a high degree of expertise. This is the first organized study in Afghanistan that has tried to examine environmental pollution and its impacts on public health. It also provides a platform for environmental advocacy activities in Afghanistan. It is hoped that this research will be able to pave the way for activities that can improve the mental and physical health of Afghan society.

NEGOTIATING CHANGE: Recognizing the Role of Customary Laws for Sustainable Livelihoods and Development in Gilgit-Baltistan

Study

This study analyses the role of customary laws for sustainable livelihoods and development in Gilgit-Baltistan. Taking cue from views of local communities, the study takes stock of interplay of customary laws with local communities, who have over the centuries evolved and internalized these laws to make them part and parcel of their culture. Hence, the paper looks at the customary laws as a part of life of local communities. However, the coterminous existence of customary laws along with modern laws has given birth to a complicated situation where the local communities’ rights get lost in limbo.

The Contribution of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Advancing Women’s Political Participation and Effectiveness: A Case of the Mon Women Movement in Myanmar

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The Contribution of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Advancing Women’s Political Participation and Effectiveness:  
Following decades of military dictatorship which denied Myanmar the benefits of an inclusive democracy, the new government continues to fall short: Women remain underrepresented. This paper focusses on the contribution of a growing CSO-led women’s movement to political participation and effectiveness, and highlights opportunities to maximize such efforts.

Transboundary Basin Management under conditions of Latent Conflict: A Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Disciplinary Approach towards the Kabul River Basin

Keeping in view the long-time security-centred nature of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, Kabul River Basin, a highly significant geographical and thematic area of concern, requires immediate attention of authorities. However, the issue remains virtually absent from the script of inter-state relations and diplomacy. The key proposition in this study is that if the transboundary basin management discourse about the Kabul River Basin can be changed from water-sharing to benefit-sharing across the water, food, and energy sectors, the social conditions and political will needed for long-term state-to-state engagement can be created without jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of basin-dependent communities during the intervening period.

An Electoral Guide for Young Candidates

Afghan youth participation in politics is limited in terms of opportunities for candidates to run for public offices. When young people get involved in politics, they often remain passive supporters rather than active decision-makers.  There seems to be two main factors where young people are often unable to exercise its rights and fulfill its responsibilities regarding involvement in decision making.

Unseating Political Patriarchy A Toolkit for Debate and Action

The toolkit discusses key issues to revisit for debate and action, spotlights and to-dos which can help in improving effective women’s political participation like, reforms in intra-party structure, electoral modalities, and establish intr-party equality in addition to rethink political culture and ensure accountabilities and compliances.

Perspectives Asia: Politics of Food

Food is a highly political issue. Nowhere is this more true than in Asia. This publication seeks to illustrate some conflicting issues in the field of food and nutrition. The contributions highlight a selection of fields, where political action is needed to ensure that there is enough food on people's plate, which is also healthy and nutritious.

Accelerating Wind Power Deployment in Pakistan: Capacity Building and Policy Options

Year 2015 had defined the future agenda of renewable energy (RE) for the coming decades. As regards, the UN General Assembly adopted “Affordable and Clean Energy” as a sustainable development goal. Later, historic Paris Agreement suggested to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 which is impossible without large-scale RE production. The year 2016 also witnessed record level of RE investment and capacity addition indicating a strong business case in future. Even though, RE has been termed vital to achieve sustainable development goals, some challenges still persist, especially in developing counties, including Pakistan. Third in a series – this policy paper not only discusses the barriers hampering wind power growth in Pakistan but also provides various policy and capacity building tools to overcome problems in areas such as: a) effective management of renewable energy integration; b) better understanding for RE costs and tariff determination; and c) financial modelling techniques for better financial close.

 

Water, Peace, and Security for All: The Potential for Peace building in Afghanistan’s Hydropolitics

In terms of having water resources, Afghanistan has a considerable advantage in comparison to its neighbors. However, war and other various factors have limited the country’s ability to make use of these resources. Water infrastructure—including dams, water storage tanks, irrigation and water supply networks, hydrometric stations and metrology systems, and sewage and sanitation systems—is limited and inefficient.

Cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan Civil Society Organizations for Prevention of Crisis

In recent years, the role and position of civil society organizations in dealing with local and regional crises are seen considering a new approach that requires finding common grounds, exchange of ideas and cooperation among civil society organizations functional in that specific region. Afghanistan and Pakistan have had complex and at times fragile political and security relations and in the meanwhile the two countries are tied in an unavoidable and undeniable trade and economic interdependency.

Any Hope for a Kurdish State?

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Iraqi and Syrian Kurds have gained increasing international recognition for their efforts in combating ISIS and some observers conclude that the conditions for an independent Kurdistan have never been as favorable as they are now. What are the prospects for a Kurdish nation state?

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