Three non-govt bodies to monitor tree project: PM aide

Updated 22 Sep 2020

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SAPM on Climate Change Amin Aslam and Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul address the media at the launching ceremony of the ‘Third Party Monitoring of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme’. — APP
SAPM on Climate Change Amin Aslam and Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul address the media at the launching ceremony of the ‘Third Party Monitoring of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme’. — APP

ISLAMABAD: The government has involved three non-government organisations to monitor the prime minister’s flagship Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).

This was stated by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change (SAPM) Malik Amin Aslam and Minister of State Zartaj Gul during a rare joint media briefing on Monday, which dispelled the impression that there were differences between the two.

An official of the ministry said there were rumours about differences between the special assistant to the prime minister and the state minister as they hardly held a joint media briefing.

“However on Monday that impression was dispelled as both participated in an event,” he said.

Speaking at the event, ‘Third Party Monitoring of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme’ where he was the chief guest, Mr Aslam said efforts were being made to ensure effective monitoring, reporting and verification of the programme at all levels to attain the desired results.

He said information on transparent implementation in management projects and programmes was not always readily accessible to everyone.

“The project or programme directors, managers and relevant key stakeholders are the ones with access to all information. This lack of transparency can lead to public distrust and resentment and hamper publicity of the programme and project activities,” Mr Aslam said.

“We hope that independent and impartial monitoring and evaluation by third party of the TBTTP would help systematically measure and assess programme activities across the country through various internationally-used tools and techniques and provide support to establish and maintain public trust on the activities,” he added.

Recalling the reasons behind the success of the Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (BTTP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on which the TBTTP is based, Malik Amin Aslam said tackling challenges of timber mafia, enhanced community participation, sustained focus on both regeneration of new forests and reinvigorating the existing ones and transparency through third-party monitoring and evaluation of the BTTP’s activities across KP were the key factors behind the success of the afforestation project.

The BTTP, under which 1.18 billion trees were planted across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the target of one billion, mustered not only international support but also gained global recognition, he said, adding that the World Economic Forum, United Nations Develop­ment Programme and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation considered it the best replicable climate change mitigation and adaptation initiative in other countries.

The special assistant said due to the political support of the KP government, the BTTP not only surpassed the target but also helped restore the province’s ailing forestry and wildlife sectors, creating thousands of green jobs for unemployed women and young people.

According to a statement, the special assistant said every country was bound to meet reporting requirements of various multilateral environmental agreements such as UN Framework Conven­tion on Climate Change and Conv­e­ntion on Biological Diversity.

However, the third-party monitoring and evaluation of the TBTTP would significantly help meet the country’s requirements for reporting on progress on environmental development, conservation and protection of forests and wildlife resources and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Speaking on the occasion, Min­is­ter of State for Climate Change Zar­taj Gul said: “The third-party monitoring and evaluation would demonstrate to the global community and the people of Pakistan that the incumbent government of Prime Minister Imran Khan was seriously committed to holding accountability of the public money spent at all levels and in every form.”

Giving an overall overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Third-Party Monitoring and Eva­luation Consortium, Climate Cha­nge Secretary Naheed Shah Durr­ani told the participants that the third party monitoring and evaluation would be conducted jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Inter­national Union for Conservation of Nature-Pakistan and World­wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020