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

Islamabad: The British government has commended Pakistan’s ambitious 10 billion tree plantation project, describing it as one of the most successful green initiatives that the rest of the world can learn from and implement to tackle climate change.

“Pakistan’s 10 billion tree tsunami project is one of the most ambitious tree planting initiatives in the world and is a successful precedent for others to follow,” said UK Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park. “I absolutely, enthusiastically, commend and celebrate Pakistan’s 10 billion tree tsunami initiative and the tens of thousands of jobs that have been created due to the project. It goes to show what is possible and what can be achieved,” said the UK minister.

Lord Aamer Sarfraz, Member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, also commended the successful implementation of Pakistan’s biggest forestation project during a recent session of the House of Lords held on January 25, 2021. “Pakistan is showing global leadership in tackling climate change. The 10 billion tree tsunami is an effort that all Pakistanis can be proud of,” stated Lord Sarfraz who is also a board member of WWF-Pakistan. He hoped that the world would “celebrate more successes from Pakistan” at COP26 climate conference this year.

The 26th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be held in the UK in November 2021. The summit will also offer a platform to highlight Pakistan’s green achievements with regard to tree plantation drive and other significant conservation successes.

Initiatives such as massive plantation and wildlife protection shows that Pakistan’s government has “given top priority to mitigating the effects of climate change” said Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President of WWF-Pakistan. “The initiative is an inspiring example for other countries to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said, adding that WWF highly appreciates that the success of Pakistan’s billion tree project was acknowledged by British parliamentarians.

Pakistan, however, needs to further step up efforts to ensure that international agreements are ratified and implemented in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Pakistan is one of the top countries most affected by climate change” where remote communities particularly are most vulnerable, he said.

In 2017, Pakistan’s provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government successfully achieved the plantation target of one billion trees under the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project’, which was monitored by WWF-Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the project and announced to plant 10 billion trees countrywide by 2023 to increase the forest cover, create new green jobs and tackle climate change.