CHITRAL: The forest department has come up with a mechanism to incentivise communities in Chitral and Kaghan areas for helping check the emission of greenhouse gases due to deforestation and forest degradation.

During an workshop of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD Plus) held here the other day, the conservationists said it was a mechanism tailored and financed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to check 20 percent emission caused by forest degradation.

Project director of REDD plus Mohammad Arif, divisional forest officer Shaukat Fiaz, ecologists Anwar Ali and Ejaz Ahmad, and other speakers said the province had reached the final stage of readiness to implement the pilot phase of the initiative for which Chitral and Kaghan had been chosen.

They said the KP REDD Plus’s strategy had been prepared after conducting multiple provincial, regional and district level consultation to ensure that all key stakeholders from local communities, forest users, civil society organisations and government agencies are given adequate opportunity to contribute to the strategy.

The speakers said the strategy was revolving around the goal of mainstreaming and enhancing the role forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation through effective reducing greenhouse gases emissions by controlling deforestation and degradation of forests and enhancement of carbon stock.

They said the REDD Plus actions were consistent with the objectives of national forest programme and relevant conventions and agreements, respect for knowledge of indigenous people was being ensured and its proposed actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity.

The participants discussed in detail the mechanism of identification and distribution of the monitory benefits generated through the project and programs and said that the payment is made after proper measurement of the carbon offsets and the stakeholders are entitled to the income accrued from it.

They said the stakeholders would be provided with social and environmental safeguards, while a system would be put in place for redressing their grievances.

District nazim Chitral Maghfirat Shah said the conservation of environment through carbon financing had become inevitable in Chitral due to its delicate eco-system which was imperiled by a number of factors.

He said Chitral was home to more than 540 glaciers, including 10 that had been declared sensitive.

The stakeholders of forest areas of Rumbur, Bumburate, Birir and Ayun participated in the workshop.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2019