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Minister urges corporate sector to help boost forest cover through Corporate Social Responsibility spending

Islamabad, March 27, 2016 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid, pressed on need for exploiting massive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) potential for addressing country’s shrinking forest cover through large-scale afforestation. “The country corporate sector should divert a significant chunk of the CSR funds for re-invigorating country’s ailing forestry sector to fight socio-economic impacts of global warming-induced climate change,” he said while chairing a high-level meeting on ‘Promoting Afforestation Campaign through CSR in Pakistan’ held here in the Ministry.

CSR representatives of automobile, telecommunication, petroleum, banking, industry and top key provincial forest department officials attended the meeting. Senior officials of the Ministry including Additional Secretary Shoaib Mir, Inspector General Forest Pakistan Mr. Syed Mahmood Nasir, Director-General (Environment and Climate Change) Mr. Irfan Tariq and Deputy Director (Media and Communication) Mohammad Saleem also attended the meeting.

Talking about the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), the minister told the meeting that the prime minister is serious about boosting country’s tree cover by all possible means. “In this regard, he has directed the climate change ministry to proactively engage all provincial forest departments, corporate sector, non-governmental organisations and other provincial and federal government departments/ministries to actualize the Green Pakistan Programme, launched last month by the Prime Minister,” he highlighted.

A five-year target of100 million tree plantation across the country between 2016-2021has been set as a part of country’s efforts to cope with devastating impacts of climate change, particularly floods. The minister told the participants that the programme clearly reflects the Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif’s understanding about unprecedented significance of the forests in fighting different environmental issues including soaring levels of pollutions in general and climate change in particular.

“No country can achieve climate resilience as long as forestry sector is not assigned top priority as a part of climate forward action,” Zahid Hamid stated. However, he urged the representatives of corporate sector to poor energies and resources to extend their all-out financial support to the prime minister’s GPP.

He also highlighted that thought Pakistan is the lowest emitter of climate-altering carbon emissions and ranked at135th among 196 countries, the country is among top ten countries most affected by the climate change-induced disasters. The Climate Change Ministry Secretary, Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, highlighted that the ministry is mobilizing its potential in support with all federal and provincial governmental departments and non-governmental organizations and is striving hard to boost country’s climate resilience, particularly in agriculture, water, energy, public infrastructure, health and education sectors.

“Framed in 2012, the national climate change policy is being implemented in support with government and non-governmental organisations and province are pro-actively working on policy recommendations for mitigating devastating effects of climate change proposed in the climate change policy,” he apprised the meeting participants.

One participant from a banking sector suggested that those sectors, which are contributing more pollution, should be asked to pay more under the CSR head to fight the environmental degradation and climate change impacts through tree plantation. Punjab Forests Department’s Additional Secretary, Shahid Rasheed Awan suggested that sector-wise consortiums of telecommunication, automobile, banking and industry should be constituted.

“These sectors should also be asked to identify focal persons for the different consortiums. Because, this will help effectively streamline the coordination for mobilising and utilizing CSR funds for actualization of the prime minister’s Green Pakistan Programme,” he further said. Briefing about the meeting, Deputy Director (Media and Communication), Mohammad Saleem Shaikh, said, Representatives of corporate, banking, telecommunication and provincial forest department officials assured the minister their full support for the Green Pakistan Programme.

“They also vowed to allocate as much funds as possible for achieving the target of 100 million trees across the countries and told the minister that they are very much congnisant of their roles for environmental conservation and protection through CSR and they will leave no stone unturned to achieve the 100-million tree plantation target,” he said.

Mohammad Saleem further said that the meeting participants also shared several ideas with the minister for realization of the GPP, such as adopt a tree campaign in schools, colleges, universities, government offices. They also suggested that private housing society developers should be engaged, the deputy director media added. “To draw maximum CSR funding from the industrial sector for the GPP, it was also suggested at the meeting that private board of investment should be approached,” he elaborated.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.mocc.gov.pk/

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