ISLAMABAD, Sep 14 (APP):Three-member delegation led by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner Monday called on the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and pledge to work with Pakistan to support present government’s efforts taken for post-COVID-19 green recovery initiatives and restoring people’s lives and livelihood affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Both sides discussed various matters of bilateral cooperation and opportunities for collaboration in the fields of green economic recovery by enhancing investment in nature-based solutions and green job creations, environmental sustainability, climate change, forest management, air pollution and water conservation and protection and disaster risk reduction, according to a press statement issued here on Monday.
Malik Amin Aslam informed the British High Commissioner to Pakistan that an ambitious Protected Areas Initiative, approved by the Prime Minister, has been launched recently under the umbrella programme ‘Green Pakistan’, which is the present government’s historic milestone for nature conservation and promotion of nature-based solutions and creation of green jobs.
It aims to expand the country’s protected areas cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country that are viewed as crucial in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time protecting natural resources of the country.
He also said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan had also approved the ‘Green Stimulus’ package in April this year as part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county and to create job opportunities for the youth, under which so far over 86,000 green jobs have been created for daily wagers rendered unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While sharing more details of the green and clean Pakistan initiatives launched under the Prime Minister’s Imran Khan’s vision for Clean and Green Pakistan, Malik Amin Aslam told the UK delegation members that the climate change ministry has launched several flagship programmes and projects including the world’s largest afforestation programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, Clean Green Pakistan Programme, Protected Areas Initiative, Plastic-Free Pakistan Initiative, Recharge Pakistan Initiative as a part of the country’s efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and climate resilience through conservation and protection of environment, forests and wildlife, wherein community and youth engagements are being given top priority.
The High Commissioner praised the present government’s green and clean initiatives for creation of green jobs through green stimulus initiative for green economic recovery and green jobs creation, afforestation programme, protection and conservation of environment, wildlife and enhancing Pakistan’s resilience against adverse impacts of climate change on water, energy, agriculture, food security, energy, health, education and lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable rural and mountain communities.
Both sides also pledged to work hand in hand towards overcoming negative effects of the present global health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming on various socio-economic sectors.
“Its really amazing and inspiring that despite limited financial resources, Pakistan launched green stimulus initiative under Clean Green Pakistan Programme, which has led to creation of thousands of green jobs for those rendered unemployed due to COVID-19 pandemic,” the British High Commissioner said during the meeting.
Dr Christian Turner told Malik Amin Aslam that the British government, however, would utilise all-out financial, technological and knowledge resources to support Pakistan through its experiences in overall post COVID-19 green recovery through enhanced investment in green sectors including forestry environmental protection and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate-vulnerable socio-economic sectors.
Malik Amin Aslam also told the High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner that he deeply appreciates the British government’s interest and its offer to extend support to the incumbent government’s green and clean initiatives launched under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme for overall environmental conservation and protection and Pakistan’s climate resilience building.
“Its indeed our pleasure to hear that the UK government is looking towards opportunities for jointly working and sharing its experiences regarding promotion of clean and renewable energy, environmental conservation, air pollution mitigation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, efficient water management and disaster risk reduction,” Malik Amin said.
He remarked that the world today has been forced to accept that it is the destruction of wildlife habitats as well as the degradation of the world’s ecosystems that are the root cause of the pandemic — COVID-19.
“However, this ongoing catastrophe is painfully reminding us that collectively we no longer have a choice but to respect the natural limits and boundaries of our coexistence with other species. Nature, while reclaiming lost space, seems to be rebalancing our relationship with it,” he emphasised.
He said further, “Given the background, protected areas remain one of the prime nature-based tools for actualising this rebalancing act in the nature.”
“They do that by providing a safe haven for nature to flourish, valuable biodiversity to survive, and for life itself to sustain. These protected refuges of nature also create a payback mechanism by creating spaces for human recreation, promoting ecotourism, generating green jobs, enhancing resilience to natural disasters, contributing to food and water security through ecosystem restoration and addressing issues such as climate change by sequestering carbon,” Malik Amin explained.