Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Wednesday said the government had allocated Rs 8 billion for 10 Billion Tree Tsunami (10BTT) despite economic crunch to revive the green cover across the country.
“The global average shows 35 per cent of world land prone to desertification where this ratio in Pakistan is 75 per cent. The Oxford research conducted in this regard found tree plantation one of the most cheapest, effective and quickest solutions to curb desertification and climate change,” he said.
He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Combating Desertification in Pakistan’, which was jointly organised here by Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) and Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi.
Amin Aslam said the budgetary allocation for tree plantation showed government’s sincerity towards environmental conservation. “It is the only project on which all the provinces are on on board and eager to contribute their share. The Ministry of Climate Change has prepared all the plans for implementation of the mega plantation programme,” he added.
The advisor said desertification, biodiversity and climate change were interlinked.“If you start reducing desertification and combating climate change then it will help reviving biodiversity in the region.”
Amin Aslam said desertification was a major challenge to sustainable development in the country. He said China had recently invited “us to visit Kubuki Desert in its north region, which has been developed into a forest sprawling over 6,000 square kilometers during the last 20 years.”
The Chinese, he said, were delighted to see Pakistan’s efforts for environment conservation, particularly the Billion Tree Tsunami (BTT) project and wanted to partake in such initiatives.
He mentioned that during the China visit, he had also met Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Thiaw. The UNCCD chair had appreciated the BTT implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “The BTT has been checked by World Wildlife Fund for Nature, International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Economic Forum and has given it a three star rating.”
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had given the vision to the nation to work diligently to accomplish the ambitions.