ISLAMABAD: A two-day national workshop on Tuesday served to announce launching of a geospatial platform for monitoring the country’s largest afforestation programme.
The workshop was jointly organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, a Kathmandu-based non-governmental organisation for development of mountain areas in South Asia.
The workshop aimed to initiate groundwork for establishing a satellite remote sensing-backed geospatial platform to support ecosystem restoration efforts being made under the ministry’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).
The collaborative work also aimed to initiate work on a five-yearly state of the forest report for Pakistan based on improved digital field data collection methods and a globally accepted classification approach to ensure transparent forest cover monitoring in the country.
Speaking as chief guest at the event, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that Pakistan’s forest restoration journey started in 2014 with the investment in planting trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The programme achieved the target of one billion trees in 2018.“After assuming charge at the federal level, we started the TBTTP,” he said.
He said maintaining transparency and accountability was one of the key facets of the programme, adding: “Participation of international agencies is welcome.”
He said TBTTP was a nationwide initiative and had helped restore over one million hectares of degraded land across Pakistan so far. The World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation have recognised the programme as the best replicable climate change mitigation and adaptation initiative, he added.
Most recently, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) termed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation vision as a “global leader” initiative.
Director General of the Kathmandu-based organisation Dr Pema Gyamtsho highlighted the significance of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region that was blessed with rich biological diversity and provided critical ecosystem services essential for food security and livelihoods of 1.9 billion people living in the mountains and the river valleys downstream.
“The impacts of ecosystem degradation are now visible in the form of increasing frequency and intensity of natural calamities, threatening livelihoods and adding to the suffering and loss of human lives,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2022
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