Pakistan ranked 8th most vulnerable country due to climate change: NA told

ISLAMABAD, Aug 10 (APP):Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday apprised the National Assembly that Pakistan has been ranked as the 8th most vulnerable country due to climate change according to “Global Climate Risk Index 2021” in terms of climate related challenges including water stress, desertification glacier melting, extreme weather events and spread of diseases.

Replying to a query during the question hour session in the National Assembly, the minister said “I would rather term Pakistan as a climatically affected country despite our meager contribution to the Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions (0.8% as per GHG inventory, 2018)”.

The Minister while highlighting the alleged corruption in the previous regime’s nature conservation projects differentiated that the Billion Tree Tsunami Project implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was already under investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) whereas investigation and audit of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, which was partially funded by provinces was also underway at the federal level.

Sherry Rehman said that the National Forest Policy was approved in 2017 by the government for promotion of plantation in the country, adding that the policy provided a basis for the Federal Government to extend support to all provinces and territories towards achieving their respective targets related to forestry and meet international obligations by fulfilling capacity and financial gaps.

The minister said that various major initiatives have been taken to implement the policy. She said that the Federal Forestry Board was reactivated to ensure integrated efforts for improvement of forests whereas six meetings of the Board have been held since 2018.

“The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was approved in 2018 to conserve the existing natural resources,” she said.

The minister said that protected areas initiative was initiated to improve management of natural habitats of existing protected areas in the country, adding that it was estimated that the protected areas in the country would increase from 12% in 2018 to 15% in 2023.

Pakistan’s Forest Reference Emission Level was prepared with the support of all provinces to estimate emissions from forestry sector. It was endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2021, she mentioned.

She said that Green Pakistan Programme provided about 350,000 green jobs, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

APP/amr-szm-muk