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Mushahid Ullah Khan urges provincial governments to join federal government in boosting country’s forest cover

Islamabad, April 09, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, has assured all provincial forest departments of all-out support in every possible form for increasing area under forest in the country.

“Although the forest has become a provincial subject after the 18th constitutional amendment, unprecedented significance and value of forest resources remain intact and the present PML (N)-led government is fully acquainted with it. However, federal government will leave no stone unturned to join provincial governments’ efforts for boosting forestry in the country,” Mushahid Ullah Khan said.

Chairing a high-level national meeting held here on Thursday at the Committee Room of the Climate Change Ministry, Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said the ministry has decided to hammer out a comprehensive plan for boosting area under trees in the country and its protection and conservation through community and private sectors’ involvement.

The meeting ‘Boosting forest sector and making it sustainable in Pakistan’ was attended by key stakeholders from government sectors including all provincial forest secretaries and conservators from all provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“Under the national-level plan targets for boosting forest cover will be set in consultation with the provincial forest departments and it would be ensured that these targets are achieved within an stipulated timeframe,” he said and cautioned that these targets are less likely to be achieved until and unless the private sector and indigenous communities in forest areas are not taken on board in this regard.

Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said that the federal government under the leadership of climate change ministry will lead the massive tree plantation campaign in all provinces to increase area under forest from current 5 percent of the total landmass of the country to at least 12 percent within next few hours.

“We will also call together here at the ministry all forest ministers from all provinces to join federal governments efforts and extend their support for the national tree plantation programme that will be backed by the prime minister of Pakistan,” he told the meeting participants and media.

Meanwhile, the federal minister encouraged the forest officials to identify loopholes and hurdles to the forest growth in the country also propose solutions to deal with them. “We want to show to the world that Pakistan is committed to tackling global warming, climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, and that the countries well-aware of significance of forests in this regard. For, this all provincial governments have to join federal government’s efforts for forest growth,” Mushahid Ullah stressed.

However, the top key forest officials pledged their full support to the forest protection and conservation programmes of the federal government. The minister stressed upon provincial forest officials to pro-actively engage media to highlight importance of forests for sustainability of all sorts of the life on earth.

On this occasion, the provincial forest representatives also shared their respective provincial forest growth plans and urged the minister to arrange financial and technical support for making these plans successful to make the country green and grassy. Federal Climate Change Secretary, Arif Ahmed Khan, pressed on need for innovative thinking and approach for boosting tree cover in the country.

“Engaging private sector and local communities can boost governments efforts for increasing country’s forest cover and providing economic incentives to the local communities can help draw support from the local communities in forest areas to play their part in conservation and protection of forest resources,” he believed.

Above all, there is dire need to set an overarching goal of increasing forest cover in the country and make it sustainable, the secretary Arif Ahmed Khan said and cautioned it is not achievable as long as all stakeholders, particularly private sector does not come forward and contribute their part for environmental sustainability.

The meeting was also attended by among others, Inspector General Forest at the Ministry of Climate Change, Syed Mahmood Nasir, Deputy Inspector General Forest, Munaf Qaimkhani, Deputy Inspector General Forest, Shahzad Jehangir, Assistant Inspector General Forest, Aurangzeb Awan.

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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