PM okays Rs2bln for Green Pakistan Programme

  • Climate Change Ministry official says 105 million trees will be planted across country under programme between 2016 and 2021

A sum of Rs two billion has been earmarked for the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme after the premier accorded approval to the summary of the Climate Change Ministry, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Forest Munaf Qaimkhani said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

“The prime minister approved on May 26 the summary submitted by the Climate Change Ministry for approval of the grant for launching a forest and wildlife protection and conservation programme of national significance,” the official said, adding, “An amount of Rs two billion has been approved for two financial years (2016-17 and 2017-18) of which Rs one billion would be released during the new financial year beginning from July 1 under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).”

According to the DIG, a total of 105 million trees will be planted across the country under the five-year Green Pakistan Programme which will cost Rs 10 billion. He said the programme, to be implemented between years 2016 and 2021, had been hammered out on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in consultations with all stakeholders for revival of forestry and wildlife resources in the country.

To, a question, the official said the programme would be formally launched with the upcoming monsoon tree plantation campaign 2016 in July.

The DIG informed media that Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid would write letters to the chief ministers to convey the significance of the programme for sustainable socio-economic development of the country and coping with climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, heatwaves, landslides, land and river erosions, cyclones, dust storms and desertification.

“What is seriously needed to make this programme a real success is the immediate requirement for the provincial governments to allocate counterpart funds in their development programmes for the fiscal year 2016-17 to qualify for the 50 per cent federal contribution under the programme,” Qaimkhani said.

The forest official also told media that a national seminar would be organised to create awareness on compelling need for the nation to make concerted efforts to protect and revive forestry and wildlife resources which, according to him, was main goal of the green programme.

“Relevant federal and provincial stakeholders, civil society organisations, corporate bodies and international development partners would be invited to help implement the programme and identify potential funding channels to meet the Rs10 billion cost of the programme,” he said, adding that “international donors would be approached through the Economic Affairs Division for their contribution to the programme”.

Talking about status of the draft national forest policy, Climate Change Ministry Joint Secretary Dr Tariq Sardar said that the draft policy had been already submitted to the secretariat of Council of Common Interests (CCI) for consideration in its next meeting.

“This policy would be implemented to conserve existing forests, bring more trees through community participation and meet international obligations related to forestry,” said the official, adding eight strategic actions and 58 policy measures had been proposed to achieve these three major policy goals.