The Heinrich Böll Stiftung worked in Pakistan from 1994 to 2019 with an office in Lahore, which was shifted to Islamabad in 2012. In most recent programmes, the main areas of work had been ecology, democratization as well as peace and security policies and focused mainly on resource equity, energy and climate change as well as gender democracy. After 25 years of successful work with project partners in Pakistan, the office in Islamabad was closed.
Since then, the foundation supports the Institute of Urbanism Welfare Trust (IUWT) - a think tank established in April 2019. IoU conducts research and gives recommendations on a policy-level for nature-inclusive urban settings.
Institute of Urbanism Welfare Trust (IUWT)
The Institute was initiated by the curator of a citizen’s movement (the Founding Executive Director of the Institute, Ms. Mome Saleem) around environmental issues in Islamabad called ‘Reclaiming Green Islamabad’. The movement came into existence in 2015 as a reaction to the rapid road infrastructure development in the city which resulted in increased pollution and changing of the city skyline to overhead bridges and concrete infrastructure. As a result, temperatures in the city started changing, air quality started to diminish, old trees fell and open spaces were reduced, which are not only important for the social interaction and city culture, but are also a means to recharge underground water. The city movement staged many demonstrations and also filed public litigation against the cutting of trees and reduced balance between green and grey. As a result, the road expansion was halted for a year and also the plan to cut more trees was shelved.
In order to organize the social capital and for a structured approach to the problem, it was deemed necessary to initiate a policy research institute. A think tank that could provide knowledge around the impacts and based on the empirical data suggest policy options and social actions for improved urban governance that considers environment as an integral part of the planning process.
Institute of Urbanism
The Knowledge Forum
Since 2021 hbs further supports the organization The Knowledge Forum (TKF). TKF is an independent platform that seeks to produce knowledge-based interventions to assist in efforts and advocacy for communities’ rights. The initiative is driven by the view that knowledge empowers the root and direction of actions aimed at advancing rights and social justice processes.
TKF, based in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, consists of a dedicated group of development professionals and human rights defenders.
At TKF, our work is driven by the ethos of community’s rights enshrined in modern democratic values. We believe that recurring conflicts, deficits in social justice, development planning, environment and climate crisis are factors that deeply impact the economically and socially marginalised communities. Our objective behind applying for this project is to use it as an opportunity to spotlight the impact of restrictive regimes, shrinking democratic spaces and changing political dynamics on rights situation, by highlighting, contextualising and assessing the factors that feed into the crisis.