Pakistan & fight to save our environment
On 05 June of this year, Pakistan, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted the World Environment Day (WED).
Being asked to be the global host for this annual event, which has been held for the past four decades and participated in by more than 100 countries, was an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s progress in ecosystem restoration – most notably in reforestation.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP said “Pakistan has shown real leadership in efforts to restore the country’s forests; we are grateful for their commitment to host the WED 2021 and lead the charge for all nations to restore our damaged ecosystems through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”
Pakistan Climate Change Minister Malik Amin Aslam expressed Pakistan’s willingness to “lead that charge.”
He stated “The Government of Pakistan is fully committed to playing a leadership role in addressing the issue of climate change, including through the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative (TBTTI), which will restore and enhance over 1 million hectares of forests across the country.
We are honoured to host this year’s WED and lend our support to global restoration efforts.”
Pakistan launched the TBTTI in 2014 with the goal of planting/regenerating more than 3.2 billion trees during Phase I.
According to the recently released Economic Survey of Pakistan, to date 350 million trees and 814.6 million plants have been planted across the country. Other countries have been inspired by Pakistan’s leadership in the reforestation arena.
For example, Saudi Arabia’s recently announced “Go Green” initiative resembles the TBTTI. TBTTI will enable Pakistan to revive its forest and wildlife resources.
It will also contribute to the preservation of atmospheric health, lowering cases of random floods and reducing rain, greenhouse gas effects and floods.
In addition to the climate change impact, it is projected that the TBTTI will have other benefits such as creating an estimated 1.5 million jobs, stimulating community projects and development, and generating eco-tourism.
Pakistan has other polices directed at improving the environment. They include converting 60% of the energy mix to make it clean and green by 2030 and shifting 30% of road vehicles to electric vehicles.
In spite of the progress and plans, there is still much that needs to be done for environment and ecosystem restoration in Pakistan including cutting carbon emission from coal power plants, installing proper waste management, and water conservation.
In my opinion, Prime Minister Khan’s perspective is correct. The developed nations should reach out and assist the developing nations.
The support could take many forms such as: Provision of green finance to support establishing the foundation of ecosystem restoration and initiating projects for environmental protection.
Transfer of technology to help alleviate pollution and carbon emission, control solid and industrial waste management and enhance eco-friendly energy sources.
Capacity building of officials, departments, communities and individuals, working for environmental protection.
In conclusion, a well-known saying goes “can’t see the forest for the trees.” In this 21st century, as climate change continues to run rampant around the globe and trees disappear there may be no forests. If there are no forests, there will be no earth or world as we know it.
That is why this is a fight we must all be in together. President Joe Biden of the United States of America understands this and the reason he hosted the international Earth Day Summit in Washington, DC on April 22 to unify major nations in the climate change combat.
This is a time to plant trees individually and collectively. And, to ask of others who do not join this battle, what trees do you plant? These are the actions and question that are necessary to ensure a sustainable global ecosystem for Pakistan, the United States and the world.
—The writer is an Entrepreneur, Civic Leader, and Thought Leader based in Washington DC.