WWF-Pakistan welcomes PM’s Green Pakistan plan

Peshawar—WWF-Pakistan has appreciated the launch of the Green Pakistan Programme by Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, whereby over 100 million trees will be planted in the country. “The initiative is a welcome step towards improving the forest cover in the country, which is essential in providing a habitat for species as well as mitigating the impacts of climate change,” said a press statement issued by WWF-Pakistan Saturday.
The contributions of forests to the well being of humankind are far reaching. Forests provide vital wood supplies and help to combat rural poverty, ensure food security, offer watershed protection, provide decent livelihoods and habitats to diverse animal species. Over the past 50 years, about half the world’s original forest cover has been lost, the most significant cause being unsustainable use of its resources. Forests also greatly influence climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Pakistan accounts for less than one per cent of carbon emissions in the world but is among the top ten countries affected by the climate change phenomenon, and is highly vulnerable to changing weather patterns. The year 2015 has proven to be an unusual year for Pakistan due to unpredictable weathering events across the entire country. A minicyclone in Peshawar killed 44 people; heat waves in Karachi killed more than 1,500 people, cloudbursts and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in various areas of GilgitBaltistan affected 35,717 people and floods across the country affected more than 1.5 million people.
The most affected and threatened forest ecosystems are mangrove forests (found in the coastal area of Sindh and Balochistan), coniferous forests and riverine forests. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s state of forest report of 2010, Pakistan has only 2.5 per cent of its area under forest and at 2.4 per cent per annum Pakistan has the highest rate of deforestation in Asia.
He also recognized that provincial governments should also be proactive in undertaking proenvironment activities, and, in this regard, the tree plantation campaign by the KhyberPakhtunkhwa (KP) government is also well appreciated. In fact, other provinces should also take steps for protection of these areas and implementation of the SROs.—APP

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