Protecting tree cover: NA panel calls for tackling root causes of deforestation

Wants greater attention towards implementing policies on environment


Shahzad Anwar February 18, 2017
Wants greater attention towards implementing policies on environment. PHOTO: STOCK IMAGE

ISLAMABAD: Efforts aimed at increasing Pakistan’s forest cover are destined to fail as long as issues of poverty, joblessness and lack of access to alternate energy resources - particularly for cooking and heating - remain unresolved.

This was discussed in a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change which met under Dr Hafeezur Drishak at the Parliament House on Friday.

Drishak, highlighted that deforestation in the country could not be controlled without improving access to energy, providing employment for forest-dependent communities and addressing poverty.

“While tackling challenges to reinvigorate the country’s depleting tree cover, equal attention should be paid to framing viable plans to deal with these pressing causes of rapidly shrinking forests resources,” Drishak emphasised.

While responding to these issues highlighted, Minister Climate Change Zahid Hamid said that increasing access to the renewable energy, particularly in forest areas, was one of the key thrusts of the National Forest Policy recently approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI).

“We will equally focus on addressing the root causes of the deforestation in the country while making efforts to save the existing trees and planting new ones across the country,” He said.

PPP MNA Imran Zafar Laghari said that there were adequate policies for coping with the environmental degradation, deforestation, biodiversity conservation, air and water pollution. However, attention needs to be diverted to their visible and effective implementation to protect country’s environmental and natural resources.

Earlier, the meeting was briefed on the development projects of the Ministry of Climate Change (MOCC) and its attached departments.

The meeting was also apprised of the details of budgetary allocations and spending against various development projects of the ministry during the current fiscal year.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2017.

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