MVP Sustainability Map
GDP Per Capita
Mohaimen; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deforestation_In_Murree.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Izharkasi; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hanna_lake_and_water_Pollution.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Pakistan has over three times as many people as its country can manage sustainably. Water scarcity, water pollution, poor air quality, deforestation, soil erosion, land pollution combined with an ever increasing population driven by high fertility rates over the past decades contribute to a spiraling environmental and human health crisis unfolding.
In a positive direction, in March 2020 the President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, openly discussed the challenges of unsustainable population growth facing his country at a Parliamentary Forum on Population stating that population growth gave rise to issues like poverty, food security and lack of education about health, and he implored the media and public representatives to create awareness and educate the masses.
A report delivered by the Population Council in Islamabad revealed that Pakistan ranks 152 among 182 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index with the current pace of the population growth at 2.4%, which directly hampers Pakistan’s efforts to meet 12 out of 17 SDGs. “In Pakistan, every $1 spent on contraceptive services saves $2.50 in maternal and newborn healthcare,” said Samia Ali Shah, Project Director, while presenting the Population Council’s report. By means of investing in robust family planning programs, she said, Pakistan can significantly pull more people out of poverty by improving maternal and infant survival, nutrition, educational attainment, the status of girls and women etc. She said that 40 million fewer Pakistanis would be living in poverty if Pakistan was closer to the fertility levels of the rest of the region “The rapid population growth, therefore, is one of the biggest challenges confronting Pakistan that impedes achieving sustainable development goals in the country,” she added. (1)