Hosting World Environment Day Reflects Global Recognition Of Pakistan's Leading Role In Eco-system Restoration


Hosting World Environment Day reflects global recognition of Pakistan's leading role in eco-system restoration

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Jun, 2021 ) :Pakistan has been emerged as a global leader by providing nature based solutions to all key environmental challenges of ecosystem degradation and climate changes by taking record initiatives of planting 1.528 billion plants and expanding protected areas coverage during the last eight and half years under its flagship Billion Tree Afforestation Project.

In spite of geographical placement in terms of climate change vulnerabilities, less contributor to the green house gas emissions and 267.6 million per year average rainfall, Pakistan has achieved outstanding milestones by taking a leading role in nature conservation, climate action and community development along with gender inclusive strategies within its available limited resources providing equal opportunities to all segments of the society including women to improve their socioeconomic conditions in the wake of huge investment made in green sector.

"Selection of Pakistan for hosting of World Environment Day on June 5, 2021 in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been an honor for our country and reflects global recognition of its ambitious eco-system restoration initiatives," said Minister for Environment, Forest and Wildlife, Syed Muhammad Ishtiaq.

Talking to APP, he said Pakistan has emerged as a global leader by providing practical and workable solutions to all key environmental�issues affecting billions of people on earth.

UNEP had approached Pakistan for hosting UN Environment Day 2021 in recognition of the Prime Minister Imran Khan historic Speech during the high ambitious coalition of Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and is also considering Pakistan's global recognition as international leader in Nature Based Solution and Eco-System Restoration initiatives like 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation and Protected Area Initiative.

This year's theme of the World Environment Day is 'ecosystem restoration' with special focus on resetting our relationship with nature. It will also mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021�2030.

The Minister said a high-level delegation of KP Government including experts from his department and Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI) Peshawar would participate in the World�Environment Day event in Islamabad to apprise the participants, experts, delegates and intelligentsia of national and international organisations about KP Government's achievements through BTAP besides various initiatives launched for restoration of depleted forests, conservation of biodiversity and wildlife, countering climate change change's vulnerabilities, forest and climate policy and future environment projects.

A number of interventions ranging the Prime Minister's 10 Billion Tree Afforestration Programme, Green Economic Stimulus to National Adaptation Plan and Clean Green Index and Champions project have been started in the country including KP.

Following successful completion of the first phase of BTAP with 1.208 billion saplings in 2014-2017 and about 500 million in 2018-21 under 10 BTAP having total 1.

538 billion plants in KP that led to raising of 10 new forests including Ghari Chandan and Azakhel near Peshawar bigger than Changa Manga, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had extended the project to the entire country on September 2, 2018 under which additional 10 billion saplings would be planted including additional one billion in KP by 2023.

He said half of the set target of 500 million saplings would be achieved by end of this month and remaining 500 million would be accomplished in next two years.

The minister said olives and fruits plants were made part of 10 BTAP for the first time and 40 million olive plants would be planted besides grafting in another 40 million olives to be achieved under a joint venture project with Agriculture Department.

Under 10 BTAP, new plantations on 111,314 hectares would be raised and range management plantation on 5000 hectares besides sowing and dibbling on 25,600 hectares. Likewise, 1,000 water harvesting schemes, establishment of departmental tube nurseries on 234.489 hectares and bare-rooted nurseries on 1813.5 hectares to be achieved besides free distribution of 199,900,000 forest plants, 2,800,000 fruit plants and 3,000,000 ornamental plants to communities.

To covert the country's first man made Ghari Chandan and Mathani Azakhel forests as ecotourism resorts, a PC1 has been approved and work on the project in upcoming fiscal year.

Ghari Chandan is bigger than 'Changa Manga' that helped control air pollution in Peshawar besides a key source of medicinal plants and served as wildlife habitats.

He said 593,292 hectare land was treated and 4,509 enclosures on 306,983 hectares established under the project and additional one million hectares would be rehabilitated and improved across the country by 2023.

As result of whooping plantations, he said KP forest covered area has increased to 26.6pc in 2018 against 20pc in 2013, having a record increase of 6.3pc and efforts is underway to enhance it up to 30pc by 2023 doable after utilization of nonproductive lands of seven merged tribal districts.

He said 15 national parks including nine new has been announced by the Prime Minister for all provinces under 'Protective Area Initiative' that would help strengthen wildlife in Pakistan.

Under this landmark initiative, the coverage of protected areas in Pakistan would be enhanced to 15 percent of the country's total land area from the current 13 percent and over 7,300 square kilometers area would directly come under conservation and protection of wildlife.

Similarly, total cover area of wildlife has been enhanced 14.23pc following� completion of nine new national and wildlife parks and efforts was underway to increase it upto 20 percent in next three years after wildlife act was extended to merged areas.

"Recognition of Pakistan's ecosystem restoration initiatives by world community has instilled a feeling of encouragement among us and will ensue in further boosting our spirit of enhancing the efforts to combating the global challenges of environmental degradation and climate change," Ishtiaq said.