–Adviser says govt to plant 5bn trees across country in project’s second phase
–Says UN keen to take up KP govt’s tree plantation initiative as model project
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Wednesday said that the federal government has approved Rs7.5 billion for the 10 billion trees project.
He said that the government has decided to plant at least 5 billion trees across the country in the next phase of the project and the centre has approved Rs7.5 billion for this purpose. “The CDWP meeting scheduled for Thursday would approve the sum and it would be released soon,” he said.
He said that Sindh has agreed to plant one billion trees while Punjab would plant the same. Less than a billion trees will be planted in Balochistan while one and a half billion trees would be planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
He said that the amount comprises the federal government’s share for all the provinces where the same amount would be given by the provinces for the implementation of the project, adding, that “this amount is the share for first year of the project’s execution”.
He said that Billion Tree Tsunami of the previous Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government was a revolutionary project which turned the tide not only in terms of ecology but also social development.
He vowed that the family of those individuals of KP Forest Department who sacrificed their lives while fighting against timber mafia and forest fires would certainly be provided financial assistance.
He said that the United Nations (UN) has decided to take up KP government’s Billion Tree Tsunami as a model project for the world to follow. “I went to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session where the general secretary took keen interest in the project. He informed me that they are considering adopting it as one of the best model projects across the world,” he said.
“International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Economic Forum (WEF), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Bonn Challenge and international media has given due importance to the project and are also taking keen interest,” he added.
Talking about forest fires, he said that they are a global phenomenon due to climate change. “Forest fires in KP occurred mostly due to negligence and irresponsible behavior of tourists visiting forests in the province and pine cones which are highly inflammable during hot weather. We will incorporate the best forest firefighting paraphernalia in the latest project to prevent such disastrous incidents,” he added.
He urged the media to spread awareness about the significance of planting trees. “The media is the most effective source of information and public awareness and can aid in the development of the nation,” he said.
The adviser noted that all the people involved in the Billion Tree Tsunami would be paid their wages and no one would be left behind in this regard.