Saturday September 25, 2021

UK to help Pakistan mainstream valuing natural resources

Islamabad : Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said that the earth’s natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, which collectively make up our planet’s core natural capital, is now at risk of fast depleting because of over-exploitation of the resources.

“However, sustainable use of the natural capital, which actually provides the foundation for sustainability of the life on earth and overall socioeconomic development of current and future generations, is vital to its sustainability for generating ecosystem services for the lasting human well-being,” he said while addressing a high-level regarding signing of ‘Letter of Support on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA)’ between the British High Commission Islamabad, UK Statistics Authority and the Ministry of Climate Change held here on Thursday.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide Malik Amin Aslam and the British Higher Commissioner in Pakistan Dr Christian Turner witnessed the signing ceremony held here in the climate change ministry on Thursday.

Both sides pledged to work together to introduce the concept of the natural capital accounting system and its implementation for conservation and protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems.

Malik Amin said that provisioning services are outputs of ecosystem services which include food, fuel and water. Besides, cultural and aesthetic services are the recreation, tourism and spiritual benefits humans derive from natural spaces. Finally, supporting services enable the functioning of all ecosystem services and include habitat and genetic diversity. Thus, regulating services through their accounting and efficient use helps make the planet liveable for humans, and include carbon sequestration of forests and the moderation of extreme events such as the role of mangroves in flood and storm surge mitigation, he added. “All of these services that nature provides, which we often take for granted, are in various stages of degradation and they continue to be at risk of fast depleting,” he cautioned.

The PM’s aide highlighted the persistent invisibility of natural capital has resulted, by large, from the reality that ecosystems services and biodiversity benefits have historically not been quantified according to dollar values and it can be extremely challenging to value these benefits in such terms. As a result, natural capital is often undervalued or neglected in decision-making, which contributes to more biodiversity loss, and ultimately impacts human well-being. For example, infrastructure and road development projects have historically been carried out with little to no attention to the short- or long-term impacts of these activities on natural ecosystems and biodiversity, he added.

Addressing the ceremony, British High Commissioner Christian Turner highlighted the diversity and importance of the Pakistan’s natural resources and their vitality for sustainable socio-economic and environmental development. He said: “Pakistan’s natural biodiversity is one of its greatest assets. Climate change threatens that, and the water supply on which the country depends. This UK assistance will help Pakistan manage its natural assets efficiently and attract much-needed finance.”

While speaking, UK Development Director Annabel Gerry, who signed the letter of support on behalf of the UK government vowed to extend all-out technical support in implementing the Natural Capital Accounting concept in Pakistan to help protect and conserve the country’s natural resources while feeding the national socio-economic development in a sustainable way. She said, ‘With this technical capacity Pakistan will be able to apply Natural Capital Accounting methods and to value its natural assets accurately.”