Friday September 29, 2023

Afforestation initiative grabs 98% of climate change ministry budget

By Our Correspondent
June 13, 2020

Islamabad : As the federal government announced budget for the forthcoming fiscal on Friday, the climate change ministry not only saw funding cut by over 34 per cent but also got not a single penny for new initiatives.

Budgetary allocations for the ministry tasked with helping the country check planet-warming emissions and adapt to climate shifts came down from Rs7.579 billion in 2019-20 to Rs5 billion in 2020-21.

All that money is meant for the ongoing projects only.

Officials insist as the federal government is focusing on the completion of the ongoing schemes due to the coronavirus pandemic-triggered economic crisis, nothing has been allocated for new climate change initiatives in the budget.

They, however, say unavailability of funds will render the ministry struggle to deal with the complex environmental problems facing the country, including changing monsoon patterns, melting glaciers, seasonal flooding, rising sea levels and desertification.

The Public Sector Development Programme documents show of the climate change ministry’s funding for the next financial year, the lion’s share (98 per cent) i.e. Rs4.9 billion will go to the ambitious tree-planting programme, which Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched in 2018.

The 10 Billion Trees Tsunami Programme - Phase-I Upscaling of Green Pakistan Programme (Revised) is meant to address the rising temperatures, floods and droughts in the country.

The peanuts offered to other ongoing projects include Rs38.788 million for the Climate Resilient Urban Human Settlements Unit, Rs23.204 million for the establishment of the Climate Change Reporting Unit in the ministry, Rs20.423 million for the Sustainable Land Management Programme meant to combat desertification, Rs12 million for the establishment of Pakistan WASH

Strategic Planning and Coordination Cell to facilitate the meeting of SDGs 6.1 and 6.2 targets, and Rs5.585 million for the establishment of the Geomatic Centre for Climate Change AND Sustainable Development.