Boosting forest cover must to fight climate change: Secretary Climate Change

Islamabad, May 11, 2016 (PPI-OT):Federal Climate Change Secretary, Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, said that the climate change ministry has expedited its efforts to boost coordinate for increasing forest cover in the country to fight climate change impacts in the country.

Addressing a press briefing here on Wednesday, he told the media that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has directed the ministry to take all-out measures to bring all provincial forest departments together to check deforestation and increase forest area to reduce country climate vulnerability.

“The ministry would leave no stone upturned to utilize its potential and available resources to actualize the directives of the prime minister. Because, he has expressed his serious concern over rapidly depleting forests resources, which has exposed the country to the apocalyptic effects of the climate-altering global warming,” he pledged.

The Secretary added that the Green Pakistan Programme, envisioned by the prime minister reflects his understanding about unquestionable importance of forests in tackling climate change and seriousness towards re-invigorating ailing forestry sector as a part of boosting country’s climate resilience.

He told the journalist, “Reflection of the political will at the highest political scale is clear reflection of the present government’s sincerity to the cause of protecting country’s social and economic sectors from climate change impacts.”

In this regard, the ministry’s forest wing, however, has been coordinating regularly with the provincial forests departments and those in the Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Fata to implement the premier’s Green Pakistan Programme, under which a target of planting 100 million trees in next five years has been set.

Meanwhile, he emphasised unprecedented significance of forests in coping with grave socio-economic impacts of climate change in the country. “Containing deforestation and increasing forest cover are one effective, viable and the cheapest way to mitigate climate change impacts,” he argued.

He told the media that continuing global trajectory of carbon emissions are major cause of global warming, which has made the climate erratic and unreliable in terms of predictability and the worst cause of devastating impacts.

“However, climate experts and scientists have agreed that forests hold key to tackle the extreme weather impacts and events in shape of destructive floods, heat waves, shifting rainfall patterns, droughts, which have shown constant rise in frequency and intensity,” he remarked.

He recalled that since the Industrial Revolution began around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially to climate change by adding carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases including methane and monoxide to the atmosphere.

These greenhouse gas emissions have increased the greenhouse effect and caused Earth’s surface temperature to rise. The primary human activity affecting the amount and rate of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, the secretary Syed Abu Ahmad Akif noted.

Talking about the ministry’s future programmes to boost climate resilience, he told the media that some multi-million rupees development projects, namely Sustainable And Green Cities, Sustainable Land Management Programme to Combat Desertification in Pakistan, establishment of Geomatic Centre for Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Establishment of Climate Change/Transparent Forest Surveys Reporting Unit in the Ministry of Climate Change, Mountains and Markets and Biodiversity in Pakistan have been hammered out to reduce country’s climate change vulnerability and protect the people from its negative impacts.

The climate change secretary elaborated hoped the budgetary allocations for implementation of these uplift projects are being sought from the Planning Commission and for others international climate change funding channels including Green Climate Fund are being explored and approached.

“The country’s corporate sector and business communities are also approached to join government’s efforts to fight the threat of climate change, which has put the country’s endeavours for achieving sustainable development goals at stake,” he said.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Joint Secretary (Development) Aftab Ahmed Manika, Inspector General Forest -Pakistan Mr. Syed Mehmood Nasir and Joint Secretary (Admin) Dr Tariq Sardar, who also spoke on the occasion.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565