Robust implementation of climate adaption plans on the part of authorities and an unwavering commitment among the civil society are prerequisites for effective mitigation
Climate change, once dismissed by some as a myth, is now recognised by most as a tremendously grave threat to the future of humanity. Around the globe, governmental bodies are trying to measure its likely impact. Pakistan, where economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, is highly susceptible to climate change. It is appropriate therefore for Pakistan to commit itself to initiating a green recovery that aims to protect nature while creating more jobs.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has initiated sensible climate change policies. In 2019, it kicked off an afforestation campaign called the 10 Billion Trees Tsunami. The campaign has been successfully launched in some of the country’s most populous cities including Lahore, Peshawar, Multan and Karachi. A shrinking vegetation cover in these cities had previously been a leading cause of extremely high temperatures.
The afforestation is meant to bring down the rapid rise in high temperatures. A significant tree cover is likely to lead to a fall in the average daily temperatures. The youth mobilisation for the campaign has been impressive. Robust implementation of the climate adaption plans on the part of the authorities and an unwavering commitment by the civil society are prerequisites for effective climate mitigation.
In April, the World Bank announced a $120 million loan for the Prime Minister’s projects for environmental conservation.
The Green Stimulus Drive was launched after the lockdown in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It aimed at creating 87,000 green jobs for the youth rendered jobless due to the closure of businesses. The Protected Areas Initiative is meant to conserve and promote nature-friendly solutions while creating an additional 5,000 jobs for communities in the protected areas. The project is slated to increase the country’s protected forests cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023.
In April, the World Bank announced a $120 million loan for the prime minister’s projects for environmental conservation.
In March, Pakistan rolled out a national adaption plan to reduce climate change vulnerability. The plan is to boost the country’s climate resilience by building on on-going projects including the Ten Billion Trees Tsunami programme, the Ecosystem Restoration Fund and the Recharge Pakistan Initiative. Malik Amin Aslam, the prime minister’s adviser for climate change, says it is to be one of the most pivotal mechanisms for adapting to climate change impacts. The two-year $2.7 million project, is being funded and technically supported by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Green Climate Fund.
Pakistan’s green initiatives have been noticed internationally, most recently by Saudi Ambassador Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Maliki, who has said his country is keen to learn from Pakistan’s experience. It is hoped that the authorities will stick to the policies and implement the plans to the hilt. Many environment protection experts have praised Pakistan’s endeavours to combat climate change. They say the green initiatives have the potential to change the environment, reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and improving social health and economic conditions.
The writer is an Advocate of the High Court currently practicing in Lahore