KARACHI: Pakistan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project was recently praised in a session of the House of Lords, where the UK environment minister described it as a great achievement that the world can learn from and emulate.

“The project is one of the most ambitious tree planting initiatives in the world and is a successful precedent for others to follow. I absolutely, enthusiastically, commend and celebrate Pakistan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative and the tens of thousands of jobs that have been created due to the project. It goes to show what is possible and what can be achieved,” said UK Minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park.

Lord Aamer Sarfraz, Member of the House of Lords in the UK and board member, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P), also acknowledged the successful implementation of the project.

“Pakistan is showing global leadership in tackling climate change. The project is an effort that all Pakistanis can be proud of. There is no doubt that 2021 is the Year of planet Earth, and by the 26th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) due to be held later this year, we hope to celebrate more successes from Pakistan.”

Launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2014, the project includes tree plantation and regeneration and focuses on supporting implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 on proactively working to prevent degradation of forest land.

In 2019, about 1.6 million native tree species were planted in different cities of Pakistan by the WWF-P which monitored KP government’s project.

Moreover, about 1.002 million native plants were planted with the involvement of the provincial forest department, academic institutions and civil society in 2020.

The COP26 scheduled to be held in the UK from Nov 1 to 11, 2021, will bring countries together to accelerate action towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Pakistan needs to further step up efforts to ensure that international agreements are ratified and implemented in accordance with SDGs so that forests of Pakistan are protected,” said Ahmer Bilal Soofi, the WWF-P president.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2021

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