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ISLAMABAD: The federal government is taking steps to set up a climate change council, authority and fund to prepare and supervise climate-related policies and actions, officials from the climate change ministry told a Senate panel on Monday.

The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change met at Parliament House and was informed that Pakistan is a member of various international forums and has been taking steps to handle the climate change issue.

Officials said that the 2017 Climate Change Act has been approved and subsequently a climate change council, climate change fund and climate change authority will be set up.

Senators were told that the prime minister will head the council, while the chief ministers of the provinces will be members.

Ministry officials said that Pakistan will receive $37 million from the Green Development Fund, which will be used to monitor melting glaciers.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said during the meeting that Pakistan had agreed to set up a peace park at Siachen proposed by Japan, but India had objections.

Malik Amin Aslam, adviser to the prime minister on climate change, told the committee that Pakistan has already spent Rs14 billion on climate change and has taken various steps to handle climate change effectively.

While discussing the climate and environment of Islamabad, the senators expressed displeasure with dirty nullahs in the city and directed the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad to launch a cleanliness drive immediately.

While chairing a meeting separately, Mr Aslam said the National Forest Policy will be implemented in letter and spirit and ordered the reactivation of the federal forest board.

He said the board would have representation from all the provinces and the implementation of the 10 Billion Tsunami Tree Plantation Project has been included in the terms of reference for the harmonisation of the project all over the country.

Climate Change Secretary Khizar Hayat and other senior officials from the forest department attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018