Australia's High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Geoffrey Shaw Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul Miyawaki forest
Australia's High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Geoffrey Shaw joins Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul to inaugurate a Miyawaki Forest in Islamabad. PID Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Australia’s High Commission and Pakistan’s Climate Change minister on Wednesday launched a Miyawaki forest in Islamabad’s Fatima Jinnah Park.

“This Miyawaki Forest is a gift from the Australian government to the people of Pakistan,” Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Geoffrey Shaw said at the plantation ceremony. “I hope that the trees and shrubs planted here today help regenerate not just the environment of Islamabad but contribute to making Pakistan cleaner and greener.”

Dr Geoffrey Shaw joined Pakistan’s Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul to inaugurate the Miyawaki Forest in Islamabad. At least 1,200 native trees and shrubs gifted by the Australian High Commission will be planted at Islamabad’s biggest park as part of an initiative, organised by the city’s Capital Development Authority (CDA) to support Pakistan’s Miyawaki Forest and Spring Tree Plantation Campaign 2021.

What is Miyawaki method of plantation?
The Miyawaki technique of plantation is based on the work of a Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki.

Under this afforestation technique, the miniature forests can grow 10 times faster, become 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse than those planted under conventional methods.

Under the Miyawaki approach, dozens of native species are planted in the same area, close to each other that allows the trees to grow faster compared to the normal plantations.

Pakistan launched urban forest project

In February 2021, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the first Miyawaki method inspired urban forest in Lahore, as part of country’s efforts to restore biodiversity and fight the climate crisis. The government has announced 51 mini-forest sites in Lahore and 20 sites in Islamabad for the urban forestry project under the initiative to plant 10 billion trees countrywide by 2023.

“Miyawaki is one of the techniques to develop forests quickly and PM Imran Khan has taken keen interest in the implementation [of the project]” said Naveed Tareen, director general environment at CDA. “We all are aware of the threat of global warming and how it’s affecting our lives. Timely initiatives like urban forests are much needed” to reverse the ecological disaster, Tareen said, thanking the Australian High Commission for collaboration with the city administration for the green initiative.

Green initiative to fight climate change

Australia has a long-standing cooperation with Pakistan on the environment and tackling climate change including improving water management and security, access to clean drinking water, flood forecasting and disaster risk reduction. “Green initiatives such as this are becoming ever more important in the face of the growing impacts of climate change affecting our region – something both Australia and Pakistan are keenly aware of and taking action on,” Dr Shaw added. To support Pakistan’s plastic bag ban drive, the Australian ambassador also distributed eco-friendly reusable bags designed by Australian Aboriginal artists to the volunteers of the plantation drive.

The Australian government has committed $1.5 billion for global climate finance and over $15 billion domestically to make Australia’s natural resources and environment more resilient to climate disasters and beat its 2030 emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement, he said.

Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Matsuda Kuninori, recently appreciated Pakistani premier’s initiative of adopting the Japanese Miyawaki planting method in the country’s urban areas to fight climate change. “Combating environmental challenges is one of the priority areas for Japan and we appreciate the Government of Pakistan and PM Imran Khan’s vision for creating a pure, green and healthy environment for the people,” the Japanese ambassador said.