The Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam explained the measures being taken under the prime minister’s vision for Clean Green Pakistan in a press release issed on Sunday.
He said the ambitious green stimulus initiative, launched last year by Prime Minister Imran Khan to sustain economic instability caused by the Covid-19 crisis, focuses on innovative financial tools to help build sustainable, responsible economic growth, achieve environmental sustainability and strive for climate resilience. He said nature had other plans for the world in 2020.
The SAPM said the two lessons taught by the Covid-19 crisis are: firstly, nature has limits and thresholds which demand respect and when these are crossed, there are consequences. As humans pushed these thresholds, nature reacted in the shape of Covid-19 and unleashed the pandemic, leaving the world in awe.
Secondly, he stated, the lesson that humans renewed and sustainable relationship with nature is possible but needs to be supported by political commitment and collective action. “Both lessons are calling for a rebalancing of our relationship with nature,” Aslam maintained.
He recalled that over the past few months, while many countries struggled to adjust to the new normal, Pakistan reacted with out-of-the-box approaches.
He said Covid allowed Pakistan to reinvigorate an ailing economy with a Green Stimulus Initiative. For financing the Green Stimulus, the climate change ministry envisioned three phases, all of which are now in place with specialised funding options, Aslam highlighted.
Giving details, he said the first ongoing phase was fully funded through self-budgetary provisions.
As a result, the purely government-financed activities, amounting to Rs10 billion have already delivered 85,000 daily wage green jobs across the country in nursery raising, plant care, protection of natural forests and firefighting activities. The target is to raise this to 200,000 daily wage jobs within the next few months, he added.
For the second phase, he said, the post-Covid recovery, a new platform Ecosystem Restoration Fund was launched to allow willing partners (public and private) to join Pakistan’s green recovery.
Aslam mentioned that substantial support funds of $180 million were secured through multi-lateral partners. These funds will support the expansion of the tree planting initiative as well as the ecological preservation of the recently announced 15 national parks, he maintained, adding that with these measures, the country increased its protected areas coverage by 50 per cent.
Aslam also said the country's first institutional National Parks Service was now underway, targeting 5,000 nature jobs to be generated for youth.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2021.