Islamabad, July 28, 2017 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister Climate Change, Zahid Hamid, said on Friday forests are the most effective way for coping with the global warming-induced climate change impacts on the country’s critical socio-economic sectors, particularly agriculture and water.
“The important services forests provide are often ignored or underestimated by many of us as long as we wake up to the unprecedented environmental importance the forests promise to us. Trees, in fact, help protect soil and regulate water on farms, mitigate floods, regulate weather and enrich biodiversity. Besides, crops grown in agroforestry systems are often more resilient to drought, excess rain and erratic weather patterns,” the minister told participants of the launching ceremony of the Monsoon Tree Plantation Campaign – 2017.
Inaugurating the monsoon tree plantation campaign here on Friday at the Rose and Jasmine Park, the minister told participants further that more than 103 million trees would be planted across the country during next two months as a part of the government’s larger plan visualised to re-invigorate the ailing forestry sector of the country.
Climate Change Media spokesperson, Mohammad Saleem, told media that the plan aims to recover the tree cover lost because of unchecked deforestation in the country over last a few decades and bring thousands of hectares of land under trees during next five years.
The media spokesperson Mr. Saleem told media on the sidelines of the monsoon tree plantation launching ceremony, “The climate change minister Zahid Hamid apprised the participants that a national forest policy has already been approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) that will help actualize the vision of the government to boost the country’s forest cover too boost the country’s climate resilience against climate change disasters, particularly floods, heat waves, sea-level rise, sea intrusion, land erosion, land sliding, disappearing of natural water springs in mountain areas, erratic and shifting weather and rainfall patterns.”
The ambitious forest policy was hammered out under the leadership of the climate change minister Zahid Hamid and in active involvement/collaboration and support of the all federating units. Besides, an action plan has also been framed that outlines detailed measures to check deforestation and increase forest cover, the media spokesperson explained.
The spokesperson said a PC-1 of Rs. 3.65 billions have been also approved by the federal government for implementation of the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), which would be transferred to the provincial governments to utilize for planting trees.
Under the GPP, 100 million trees would be planted across the country at a cost of Rs. 10 billion, for which half of the amount would be extended by the provincial, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA governments, the media spokesperson Mohammad Saleem elaborated.
“However, it is high time that the forests got the right value and its importance recognised by us all for the sustainability of the country’s socio-economic sectors, lives and livelihoods because it is important for the people living in these forests and exploiting them to recognise that the impact is of unsustainable exploitation of these forests but also to understand how much this exploitation is costing the environment of the country,” the media spokesperson stressed.
The spokesperson said that the climate change minister had directed the ministry’s forest officials and urged the provincial forest department officials to play their more active role in engaging public, all stakeholders, particularly educational institutions, corporate sector, NGOs and media to boost sensitise about the importance of forests in sustainability of the earth’s overall ecosystem, biodiversity, our lives and livelihoods and their role in coping with climate change-induced impacts.
He added that the minister has cautioned the forest officials that without their involvement no forest growth plan would succeed and tree plantation targets would remain hard to achieve 100 percent or surpass them.
For more information, contact:
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan