ISLAMABAD: In a bid to preserve forests in Pakistan, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) programme will provide Pakistan with a $35 million grant.
“The implementing agency, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), had itself prepared the proposal for the SFM programme three years back, and after holding marathon consultations with various firms, approved proposals prepared by the Pakistan Forest Department,” a senior Pakistan Forest Department official claimed on condition of anonymity.
The Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) programme aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests. On a global scale, forests store more carbon than the earth’s atmosphere, and since 2007, the role of forests as important carbon reservoirs has gained remarkable attention in climate change discussions.
Similarly, a World Bank mission which recently visited Pakistan contended that the country qualified for the opportunity to receive a $3.8 million grant from the bank through its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) under the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) facility.
REDD are initiatives offering incentives for developing countries to reduce deforestation and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
According to an official at the Climate Change Division Forest Wing, the World Bank’s mission, after holding successful consultative meetings with the federal and provincial forest departments and other stakeholders including the wildlife and biodiversity departments, expressed satisfaction with Pakistan forest department’s performance in respect to deforestation and degradation.
“The$3.8 million would be used over a period of two years for readiness activity and capacity building,” Forest DIG Dr Shahzad Jahangir said, adding that the terms of References (ToRs) would be finalised by January 2015.
“Countries which do not fulfill the World Bank’s four point readiness programme would not be able to get any financial facility under REDD+ in the future,” Dr Jahangir said, and added that the implementing agency has set multipronged standards for countries to avail REDD+ facilities including a national strategy for REDD+, forest reference emission levels and implementation activities, and measuring, reporting and verification (MRV).
He stressed that on the basis of successful compliance and implementation of the readiness programme, donors will invest in REDD+ projects.
Pakistan is among eight countries chosen from a total of 27 that were selected for the FCPF grant. The other countries selected included Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Fiji, Nigeria, Togo and the Dominican Republic.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2014.
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