Posts Tagged ‘ Population ’

Live Challenge: The Future of Pakistan to 2060

(Originally published in The News International http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-271235-Pakistan-2060)

Alternative Scenarios

Alternative Scenarios

A daunting challenge, many have struggled to imagine a future of Pakistan beyond an electoral cycle or a human life or even unmet visions. The trouble is that collective foresight and intelligence is missing from our political and institutional systems. Foresight that enables a country to build, and for stronger relationships and alliances amongst leaders from across organisations and sectors, demonstrating clearer intentions and commitments as to what these leaders need to do and as a result of which initiatives and actions are designed co-creating better futures.

As the rhetoric goes, Pakistan is in a unique situation in the region. ‘Hybrid democracy’, ‘failed state’, ‘the world’s most dangerous country’ – in recent decades Pakistan has been categorised and de-categorised so it can fit the informed paradigm for strategic thinkers.

Pakistan is undoubtedly a young nation. It is apparent that the country’s democratic structure remains highly uncertain due to sovereign debt crisis, weak and polarised political leadership, diminishing confidence in state institutions, criminal injustice, oppressed freedom and decaying rule of law. Close to 70 years, Pakistan and its people have come a long way in militating global affairs.

The question is: are policymakers, legislatures and political groups equipped to shape the future of the country, which will inspire the next generation and enable it to enjoy a secure and prosperous Pakistan beyond an electoral cycle? Can they realign themselves in an effective decision-making process, by developing shared understanding of global uncertainties and political despondency?

‘The future of Pakistan to 2060’ in its current state serves as a working paper that highlights the essential narrative required of a secure and prosperous Pakistan with a positive regional influence, demonstrating leadership in the Muslim world and inspiring the next generation. The principle idea of this paper was not to predict the future, but to bring people on board to draw out perspectives, establishing logical sequences to challenges, determining relationships between drivers, and identifying certain high-impact events.

The challenges that seemed to concern people the most included leadership, religion, economy and security. There were differences in perspectives between the generations. In Pakistan’s case engaging with the next generation becomes an important entry point.

Preliminary research was conducted to check and test assumptions about Pakistan’s future among the ruling elite and wider society, explore perceptions of Pakistan from both inside and outside the country, and identify future risks and opportunities.

As a result four scenarios emerged for the country in 2060: i) low citizen empowerment, regional integration; ii) high citizen empowerment, regional integration; iii) high citizen empowerment, regional fragmentation; and iv) low citizen empowerment, regional fragmentation. These scenarios were based on impact and uncertainty. The drivers of change were composed of demographics, urbanization, macro-economic conditions, resource availability, climate change, technology, religiosity and ethnicity.

Policymakers and the political leadership in Pakistan are either incompetent or incapacitated to cope with the challenges confronting the nation due to rapid globalisation, economic interdependence and the changing nature of global affairs. The country begs for ‘meritocracy’ where there’s an institutionalised capacity to devolve the decision-making process.

Nepotism has destroyed the state-run institutions; the public faces the brunt of dishonest and corrupt officials at the highest levels. Research and several discussions have indicated that there’s an overwhelming need for institutionalising foresight techniques, tools and technology in policy formulation, planning and decision-making processes; allowing different stakeholders to explore emerging ideas and values reflecting on medium to longer-term strategic research, analysis and planning contributing to policies that are dynamic, resilient and transcendent.

In South Asia, the complete lack of visionary leadership is a serious challenge. While President Ziaul Haq drove this country in a reverse gear the consequences of which linger in the form of ethnic conflict, sectarian violence, radicalisation, oppression against freedom of expression, and exploitation of minorities.

Equally to blame is Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Historic precedents have demonstrated that religiosity does not let nations become pragmatic; corruption and perceived corruption reduces investment, which makes them less competitive and less efficient.

Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country, and if the population – which is projected to exceed more than 250 million by 2030 and up to 335 million by 2050 – presumably grows at that same rate, then it will be a tough battle for the leadership to overcome the dramatic challenges that come with the uncertainty that climate change, geopolitical difficulties and social and cultural isolation pose.

Currently, we have a population of 198 million people, with a median age of 22, 63 percent of the youth is under the age of 29 years, making Pakistan as one of the youngest nations in the world. If this invaluable human capital is not leveraged in achieving its optimal potential, then with deteriorating service delivery, unemployment and injustice will further frustrate the coming generations which will become the gravest challenge for state institutions – ultimately undermining the political system.

The country’s elite captures determining the economic growth model have mostly benefited the rich more than the poor; institutions retreating from providing essential legal assistance, collecting taxes and security have severely discredited the socio-economic and political outlook of the country. Pakistan already has a fragile political system; and while the philosophy behind strategic depth is hugely out of fashion, the country in the information age has failed to integrate the role of its institutions with the growing needs of not only its population but also in aligning itself to the global knowledge-grid.

In order to secure stability in the region Pakistan, the Kashmir region and India must chalk a way forward. Complacency towards diplomatic obligations will lead to further internal misfortunes. Lack of public funding, appalling institutional capacity in service delivery, access to justice, and extremism – already a bane of contention – will further fuel internal crisis.

As the state loses its relevance, it has created room for many of the non-state actors who are essentially plugging in the loopholes. While incompetence can be one of the reasons, the country needs to learn to start paying for itself. Masooda Bano has, in one of her writings, highlighted the failure of development funds channelled through non-governmental organisations eroding cooperative behaviours rather than strengthening initiatives amongst the state, community and individuals. A serious issue that goes unaccounted for in realpolitik.

Pivot of the World?

Pivot of the World?

 

There’s potential for creating the fifth scenario for Pakistan based on a vision, commissioning some more systematic future insights that can be helpful in developing plausible scenarios, thinking through global/regional dynamics, understanding risks and opportunities, and bringing out insights on what useful intervention points might look like.

 

 

 

 

NOTES:

DRIVERS OF CHANGE 

Demographics

  • Although a population of 188.2 million projected for the year 2014 is well above the carrying capacity of its resources and creating population resource imbalance. With a median age of 22, 63% of youth in Pakistan is under the age of 29 years, making Pakistan as one of the youngest nations in the world.229 people per square km and it was in position 151th in the density population ranking of 2013. With over a 150 million people today, the UN projects the population to cross 300 million by 2050. The country also host 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees hosted by local communities across Pakistan.

Urbanization

  • During 1990-2003, Pakistan sustained its historical lead as the second most urbanized nation inSouth Asia with city dwellers making up 36% of its population. Nine cities have population of more than one million, 75 cities have population of over one hundred thousand. Its urban population is expected to equal its rural population by 2030. Environmental degradation along with poor hygiene, lack of basic sanitation and unsafe drinking water will have a grave impact on the migrant population.

Resource Scarcity

  • Pressure on land and water, as well as demand for food and energy, will increase significantly over the next decade as the country faces the demographic dividends and the urbanization process. Inefficient distribution and mismanagement of energy and water resources will become an impediment to the economic growth and livelihoods. Pakistan also faces the effect of climate change, with related disasters intensifying impacting the vulnerable threatening food security. A study indicates an available supply of water of little more than 1,000 m³ per person, which puts the country in a high-risk category, this will threaten the lives of millions of Pakistanis. About 29% power is generated through hydro resources.

Technology

  • The potential of ICTs is not sufficiently leveraged in Pakistan, where access to ICTs remains the privilege of a few. On a slightly more positive note, Pakistan does comparatively better in
the more advanced areas captured by the GCI. It ranks 67th in the financial development pillar, 85th business sophistication pillar, and 77th in innovation.

Network Readiness Index 2014

  • The Telecommunication sector of Pakistan is fairly dynamic with the adoption of next generation advanced technology. Teledensity of the country reached 75.21% (135 million subscribers combining Cellular, WLL & LL) with major contribution from cellular sector and revenues of $4.457 billion.

Macro-Economic Situations

  • In 2013-14, Pakistan ranked at 133, out of 148 economies on the competitiveness Index. On the competitiveness index, Pakistan’s performance on the public institutions indices signifying inefficiencies corruption, patronage, and lack of property rights protection:
Country Global Competitiveness Rankings Goods Market Efficiency Labour Market Efficiency Financial Market Efficiency Market Size
Pakistan 133 103 138 67 30
India 60 85 99 98 3
Bangladesh 110 89 124 102 45
Sri Lanka 65 37 135 41 61
Iran 82 110 145 130 10
China 29 61 34 54 2
Turkey 44 43 130 51 16

 

  • According to the International Monetary Fund, macroeconomic imbalances and longstanding structural impediments to growth have prevented full realization of Pakistan’s potential:

Problems in the energy sector, security concerns, and a difficult investment climate have combined with adverse shocks to undermine economic performance in the past decade.

The GDP growth has only averaged 3 percent over the past few years, well below what is needed to provide jobs for the rising labor force (95 million) and to reduce poverty.

The population is still increasing rapidly (1.7%), per capita income growth ($1370 almost 4.3%) has lagged behind many emerging economies.

The fiscal deficit is at 4.9%, driven by weak tax collections, energy sector subsidies, and increased provincial government spending.

Domestic deficit financing has crowded out private sector borrowing and has contributed to inflation (8.4%).

Private sector credit has become negative in real terms, while monetary aggregates continue to be driven mainly by the government’s financing needs.

The external position has weakened significantly, and central bank reserves have declined to critical levels $8 million in Jan 2014 and $14.3 million in July 2014.

Religiosity and Ethnicity

According to the CIA World Factbook, Library of Congress, Oxford University, over 97% of the population of Pakistan is Muslim and the remaining 3% is Christian, Hindu and others. Majority is practicing Sunni, while Shia’s are a minority. Saraiki make up 10.53%, Muhajir 7.57% and Baloch 3.57%, remaining constitutes 4.66% of the total population.

Numbers of speakers of larger languages
Language 2008 estimate 1998 census Main areas spoken
1 Punjabi 56,367,360 44.17% 58,433,431 44.15% Punjab
2 Pashto 26,692,890 15.44% 20,408,621 15.42% Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
3 Sindhi 26,410,910 15.35% 18,661,571 14.10% Sindh
4 Saraiki 17,019,610 10.42% 13,936,594 10.53% South Punjab
5 Urdu 13,120,540 7.59% 10,019,576 7.57% Karachi, Sindh
6 Balochi 6,204,540 3.59% 4,724,871 3.57% Balochistan
7 Others 8,089,150 3.59% 6,167,515 4.66%
Total 172,900,000 100% 132,352,279 100% Pakistan

 

 

The Missing Link

It’s ironic how the mainstream media deviates from what is important to a 180 million people to what aids individual interests. Sadly, it has become an acceptable way of life that a corrupt politician, misleading opinion-makers and the ‘foreign forces’, are allowed to govern and then destroy the efforts of aspiring youth population to bring change. And when hoping for one becomes a sin, surfacing selfishness and disorientation spreads like a disease.

A country, by the very definition of consequences of any chaos, in this case, which is constant in nature, suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorders. Whether this may be because of the War President or the Drone War President.

Perhaps our own short-term ill-conceived tacit strategies are haunting us back to the Dark Ages.

Since 2008, the Drone warfare has increased radically, there are almost 64 bases across the globe engaging in US drone missions. Currently, positioned in over 14 different countries, some for intelligence gathering purposes and others for targeting ‘populations’ those are ‘sources’ of National Security threat to the US.

One of these frequently targeted area is the North Waziristan, a place I never visited, nor which the Pakistani Army dares to go, clearly many Americans wouldn’t know how it actually looks like either. But regardless of how complicit the US or the Pakistani Government is towards civilian deaths, what is strange that none of the overly exuberant Civil Society Organization has been able to establish Reprieve Pakistan. The only people churning out remotely smart questions and op-eds are the ones not sitting in key decision making boardrooms of legislators and policy-makers.

A question put forward in a documentary produced by Alternate Focus, by an author and an activist Tom Hayden was; “Are these weapons [Drones] keeping us [United States of America] safe, or do they just incite further terrorist attacks? And is their use a violation of the Geneva Conventions?”

According to the Geneva Convention, most serious of crimes are termed grave breaches, will the drone strategy be termed as one? If so how far, will one go to distort the lines  – even further between the combatants and the civilians…

Why Pakistan is an easy target and is usually not a hard nut to crack; well that is mainly because we critically remain in a self-sustained state of anarchy and inefficiency.

The combination of the two defines the very nature of how the country is perceived and dealt with.  According to a few professors in Israel, the price of anarchy is by now a standard measure for quantifying the inefficiency introduced in games due to selfish behavior, and is defined as the ratio between the optimal outcome and the worst Nash equilibrium.

Even though Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaaf portrays itself as a likely political force, which will act as a restraining factor and influence the scale of corruption in the country, yet the reality remains that the incumbent disease is widespread and systemic in law enforcement agencies, in the offices of the public service etc etc.

A country with massive power failures, leadership crisis, fanaticism, water-and-what-not shortages we really fancy our ‘long marches’ or as my friend put it over dinner ‘long drives’. Such actions only portray the level of commitment of these so-called power influences to this nation. The choices and then the priorities are all dangled up in an elusive dream.

Its 2012, as India goes into celebrating its first and the European region into marking its 10th year of Polio free certification, Pakistan is still battling possible travel restrictions over the virus. And even more absurdly, with the Taliban in the Waziristan creatively linking the predator drone programme to the polio vaccination of over 200,000 children in troubled region, there’s a possibility that thousands of families will be at the risk of being missed out during the inoculation campaign.

Who really decides for over a 180 million people, when each pillar of the state is losing its supposed grace?

Water Matters

Population Growth: Economy, Agriculture and Energy

According to the Water Security Risk Index, released by Maplecroft[1], Pakistan has the least secure supplies of water and is in the extreme risk category.

The world’s sixth most and second most populous Muslim country; Pakistan’s population is projected to swell up to over 330 million in year 2050, as indicated by the population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat[2].

Today, as the country faces unprecedented security threats, dwindling economy, natural hazards and political instability; many analysts still believe that the country has promising market opportunities in future. The availability of water will become a much higher priority in business decisions and investment endeavors.

One of the country’s most urgent challenges is how to manage the nation’s precious water resources to meet growing human, economic, and environmental needs. Pakistan remains in the high-risk category with respect to water availability. The availability of clean water has dropped from 1950s: 5,000 cubic meters to less than 1,500 cubic meters per person today[3], primarily due to the rapid growth in population. And yet we remain dependent on only three hydrological units, two of which are rapidly silting from the Himalayas[4].

As the population increases the pressure on the existing water resources will intensify. The shift will have an adverse impact on employment, economic development, healthcare systems, food security, urban management, chronic diseases, biodiversity, communal and social harmony etc etc.

The existing water and sanitation infrastructure in the cities is inadequate to cope with the increasing urbanization, which is putting a majority of the population at risk and causing serious damage to the environment. Water-related disasters such as floods, tropical storms, and heavy rainfalls only add toll to the human suffering.

Pakistan has already been through two of the gravest natural hazards this year so far; the Attabad crisis and the recent floods. Causes: Glacial melt and for the latter the debate is still among the monsoon patterns, heavy rainfall, climate change, dams and deforestation. Which ever case it is, as of now 20 million people are homeless, lives have been lost, as desperation and hunger persists.

It has been estimated by resource experts that continued growth in population will reduce per-capita freshwater availability by 70 per cent by 2070 and Pakistan will be a water scarce society[5]. The increase in demand for water will adversely affect the groundwater resources, as over 70 percent of it is allocated already to Pakistan’s irrigation and other agricultural needs; one million tubewells across the country are satisfying short-term needs but leading to unsustainable use of groundwater and declining water levels. This cannot continue.

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has recently recommended to the Government of Pakistan to create Water Regulatory Authority, which will consist of representatives from the federal and provincial governments. The purpose of the authority is to regulate optimum water use and balance in different basins under enabling legislation[6].

According to studies conducted on Water Management, Pakistan also loses almost two-thirds of its supply to leaks and poor transmission in its canal system due to poor infrastructure and the inefficient water management.

Pakistan already has one of the highest child mortality rates in Asia[7]; an estimated 250,000 deaths occur each year due to water-borne diseases[8]. According to the national water report, less than one in four rural households is connected to a tap; many others simply rely on inferior sources.

Inter-provincial conflicts over water also complicate water management: the construction of large dams or other infrastructure is slow and costly and can take up to 10 years; many fear that new needed dams will not be built quickly enough to reduce water problems anytime soon.

In an online interview, President, Pacific Institute and Member US Academy of Sciences, Dr. Peter H. Gleick also the author of ‘bottled and sold’ narrows down Pakistan’s precarious water situation, to few basic solutions, according to Dr. Gleick there is a need for building appropriate water-infrastructure, while also protecting downstream usage and rights on sharing. He says the relevant political institutions have a crucial role to play in effectively managing the possible internal conflicts arising out of water-sharing; but most of all, he says to eradicate the imbalance from within the society authorities will need to focus on providing people access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

According to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon “As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. This is not an issue of rich or poor, north or south. All regions are experiencing the problem of water stress. There is still enough water for all of us – but only so long as we keep it clean use it more wisely and share it fairly. Governments must engage and lead, ant he private sector also has a role to play in this effort”

In contrast to the technical approach; the Government of Pakistan will need to bring a more focused media attention in addressing and covering matters related to attaining the required benchmark for water conservation and management. An effort that engages media, public-private sector, academia and the non-governmental organizations focused on raising awareness within Pakistani society of water’s value and the need to place a price on its usage.  Pakistan’s public sectors respond to everyday water needs of average citizens in urban, peri-urban and rural settings, whether for drinking, irrigation, industrial, religious, or other use.  This platform along with a variety of interventions will build a national dialogue on water enabling multiple stakeholders in effectively creating content most relevant to the Pakistani society.

One of Pakistan’s targets in achieving millennium development goals is to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. However, it is believed that Pakistan is far from achieving this target. The members of the United Nations are meeting this month in New York to discuss the progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the 65th UN Summit.

 

(First appeared on the back-page of Finance and Review section of The News.)

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