The Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project aims to slow down the effects of global warming in Pakistan. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan has turned its green ambitions into reality by achieving UN Climate Action Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-13) a decade ahead of the 2030 deadline.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Pakistan to attain the crucial ‘Goal 13 - Climate Action’ well before the 2030 deadline”, Malik Amin Aslam, Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change, told Gulf News. “With this milestone, Pakistan has demonstrated its commitment to the clean and green future and contribution to global efforts to tackle the challenge of climate change,” he said.

How Pakistan achieved the green goal?

Pakistan’s continuous efforts and initiatives of large-scale afforestation, biodiversity conservation, investment in clean energy, electric vehicles and green jobs to combat climate change impacts have earned the country worldwide acclaim, said Aslam. Detailing some of the key green projects he mentioned 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Program, Clean Green Pakistan Initiative, Clean Green Pakistan Index, Protected Areas Initiative (15 new national parks), Ecosystem Restoration Fund for facilitating green growth and policies consistent with the objectives of Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution and attaining Land Degradation Neutrality. These initiatives have been taken to prevent and to be better prepared for the threat of climate change experienced by the country such as floods, heat waves, droughts and melting glaciers.

Pakistan climate goals
Image Credit:

Transition to green economy and clean energy

Transition to green economy and green future is at the core of Pakistan government’s policies spearheaded by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The government has initiated steps to “convert China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project into China Pakistan Green Economic Corridor project”, the premier’s aide said. “We have deferred 2740 MW of imported coal projects signed by the previous government and replaced it by zero-carbon and hydropower projects of 3700 MW” the advisor informed. “This shift [towards clean energy] shows the government’s commitment to climate-friendly and sustainable development beneficial for both Pakistan and the global community.”

Green achievement hailed

UNDP Pakistan hailed the achievement with this message on Twitter: “Pakistan has achieved SDG13‬ well before the 2030 deadline with the technical support from ‪UNDP‬”. It was also shared that “‪UNDP in Pakistan‬ and ‪Climate Change PK‬ celebrate the achievement of ‪SDG13‬ and our longstanding strategic partnership.”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Pakistan’s Climate Change ministry on its official page said that “Pakistan has passed a crucial milestone on the road to environmental protection by meeting the overarching UN‬ Sustainable Development Goal 13 ten years ahead of the deadline”. Goal 13 calls for urgent actions to combat climate change its impacts.

Pakistan’s Green Stimulus package announced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect nature while offering green jobs to ‘guardians of nature’ was highly appreciated by global experts. “This is an excellent model for linking economic development with a new deal for nature” said Dr Kathy MacKinnon, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas.

UN SDGs for a better and sustainable world

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all UN member states in 2015, offers a roadmap to achieve a better and sustainable future. The 17 SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries to improve health and education, water and sanitation, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and preserving the environment.