Islamabad: The Pakistan government has announced it will collaborate with the private sector to restore at least 50,000 acres of degraded forest land across the country.
The Ministry of Climate Change signed the agreement with WWF-Pakistan and Engro Foundation for a joint forest restoration programme which will cost Rs600 million. WWF-Pakistan will monitor afforestation of the area spread over 50,000 acres.
Special assistant to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the private sector can play a vital role in restoring the country’s degraded forest landscape and combating climate change. The “collaboration and partnerships between the corporate sector and government are key to the country’s goal to conserve, restore and grow billions of trees for achieving sustainable development goals” including climate-resilient, food security, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, fighting hunger, malnutrition and disease, he said.
“Without conserving and restoring degraded forest landscapes and protecting it, we would only jeopardise efforts and gains made so far for achieving sustainability of businesses and economies, which provide jobs and feeds millions,” Aslam warned.
WWF-Pakistan Director-General Hammad Naqi Khan said that forest landscape restoration is an important approach to restoring deforested and degraded land. “It involves bringing together people with diverse and diverging views and interests to devise a plan in which both people and nature win,” he added.
Engro Corporation President and CEO Ghias Khan said that realising the full benefits that forests provide and the planet needs requires collaborative efforts. He agreed that the “corporate sector must play its role towards environmental sustainability for restoring deforested and degraded lands across landscapes in the country to regain ecological integrity” and contribute towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Pakistan vows to reclaim 700,000 acres of encroached forest land
Pakistan’s prime minister recently announced action to put an end to the illegal encroachment of state lands across the country after the latest study revealed massive encroachment of state land worth Rs5.5 trillion. The recent findings of the Survey of Pakistan revealed that “around 700,000 acres (2833 sq km) of the forest land was currently under illegal occupation” which makes up around 9.4 per cent of the country’s total forest area. Pakistan’s total forest cover is 7,413,161 acres (or 30,000 square kilometres).