ISLAMABAD, June 7 (APP): An amount of Rs 2 billion has been earmarked for the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) in Public Sector Development Programme.

Deputy Inspector General Forest – Pakistan Munaf Qaimkhani in a media briefing here Tuesday said,”The prime minister approved the summary on May 26 submitted by the climate change ministry for approval of the grant for launch of the forest and wildlife protection and conservation programme of national significance.

An amount of Rs two billion has been approved out of which Rs one billion would be released during the new financial year, beginning from July 1st, under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP),”

Total 105 million trees would be planted across the country under the five-year Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), which will cost Rs. 10 billion during next five years for its implementation.

He said that the GPP, which will be implemented between year 2016 and 2021, has been hammered out on directives of the prime minister in consultations with all relevant stakeholders.

Replying to a query he said the programme would be launched formally with upcoming monsoon tree plantation campaign 2016 in July.

The deputy inspector general forest informed the media that the Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid as per instructions of the premier would write a letter to all provincial 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, desertification.

“What is seriously needed to make the green programme a real success is the immediate requirement for provincial governments to allocate matching funds in their development programmes for FY 2016-17 to qualify for the 50 percent federal contribution under the green programme,” he emphasized.

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

Relevant federal and provincial stakeholders, civil society organizations, corporate bodies and international development partners would be invited to the event help implement the programme Pakistan and identify potential funding channels to meet the Rs 10 billion cost of the programme, he added.

Munaf Qaimkhani said, “In this regard as per directives of PM, international donors will be approached through the Economic Affairs Division to contribute for the programme.”

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

“Hammered out in strenuous and elaborate consultation with provincial forest and wildlife departments and other relevant federal governmental departments and forest officials of the Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Azad Jammu & Kashmir regions, and non-governmental organizations, the policy would implemented to conserve existing forests, bring more trees through community participation and meet international obligations related to forests,” the joint secretary said.

Eight strategic actions and 58 policy measures have been proposed to achieve these three major policy goals, Dr. Tariq Sardar added.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s forest expert Munaf Qaimkhani added that it had been ensured while formulating the forest policy draft that it did not infringe upon provincial autonomy and was supportive of provincial forest policies and programmes while addressing the obligations of the federal government under the international treaties related to forests to which Pakistan is a party.

“Most of the guidelines and measures contained in this policy shall be applicable to federal government within its constitutional mandate. This policy provides a legal basis for the federal government to arrange and extend support to all provinces and regions towards achieving their respective targets and meeting international obligations by improving their capacity and financial gaps,” he said.

Earlier, spokesperson of the climate change ministry, Muhammad Irfan Tariq, apprised the media about outcomes of the two-day international meeting of the Tehran-based Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) held here on June 1-2.

He said that representatives of the six member countries out of the 10 central Asian member countries including Pakistan pledged to further scale up intra-regional collaboration and cooperation for tackling common environmental, climate change and sustainable development-related challenges.

“The delegates of the member countries emphasized the need for jointly tackling these fundamental challenges through increased collaboration and cooperation in research, transfer of scientific, technical know-how and technology in environment, energy, water, biodiversity, health, education, transport and communication fields is key to achieving sustainable development goals, conserving natural resources and tackling poverty, hunger and disease, emphasized the environmental development and climate change experts from the member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO),” the spokesperson Irfan Tariq said.