By Muhammad Rizwan
ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 (WNP/DL): European Union (EU)’s delegation to Pakistan Tuesday called on the Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam.
Both sides discussed at length various matters of bilateral collaboration and cooperation-related opportunities in the fields of in green economic recovery through investment and green job creations, environmental sustainability, climate change, forest management, air pollution and water conservation and protection for boosting latter’s climate resilience against unfolding climate change-caused disasters.
The EU delegation was led by Anne Marchal, EU Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan.
During the meeting, the EU delegation members lauded the present government’s green and clean initiatives for creation of green jobs through green economic recovery, protection of environment, forests, the wildlife and enhancing Pakistan’s resilience against negative fallouts of climate change on agriculture, forests, water, food, energy, health, education and lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable communities.
“We are looking forward to contribute our role through our experiences in overall post COVID-19 green recovery through enhanced investment in green sectors including forestry environmental protection and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate-vulnerable socio-economic sectors,” Anne Marchal told the prime minister’s advisor.
Malik Amin Aslam welcomed the interests of the EU and its offer to join present government’s green and clean initiatives launched over last two years for overall environmental conservation and protection and Pakistan’s climate resilience.
“We are happy to hear that the EU is looking towards opportunities for collaboration and cooperation for jointly working and sharing its experiences regarding environmental conservation, water management, disaster risk management and climate resilient-agriculture,” he told the EU Mission’s deputy head in Pakistan.
While sharing details of the present government’s green and clean Pakistan initiatives, he told the delegation members that the climate change ministry has launched various flagship programmes and projects including the world’s largest afforestation programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, Clean Green Pakistan Programme, Protected Areas Initiative, Plastic-Free Pakistan Initiative, Recharge Pakistan Initiative as a part of the country’s efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and climate resilience through conservation and protection of environment, forests and wildlife, wherein community and youth engagements are being assigned the heightened priority.
“However, we welcome any support and collaboration at any scale between Pakistan and European Union bloc and with its member countries, respectively, that would surely help deepen the bilateral relations and help boost Pakistan’s efforts for environmental conservation and protection as well as reducing the country’s disaster vulnerability,” he hoped.
Malik Amin Aslam also informed her that a novel Protected Area Initiative, approved last month by the Prime Minister, has been launched recently under the umbrella programme ‘Green Pakistan’, which is the present government’s historic milestone for nature conservation, aims to increase the country’s protected areas cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country that are viewed as crucial in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time protected natural resources of the country.
He also said the Prime Minister Imran Khan had also approved the ‘Green Stimulus’ package in April this year as part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county and to create job opportunities for the youth, under which so far over 86,000 green jobs have been created for daily wagers rendered unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, an agreement was signed on Monday according to which the World Bank will provide 188 million US dollars to Pakistan to address environmental degradation, deforestation and climate change-caused disaster risks in the country, the PM’s aide added.
Malik Amin also remarked that the world today has been forced to accept that it is the destruction of wildlife habitats as well as the degradation of the world’s ecosystems that are the root cause of the pandemic — Covid-19.
“However, this ongoing catastrophe is painfully reminding us that collectively we no longer have a choice but to respect the natural limits and boundaries of our coexistence with other species. Nature, while reclaiming lost space, seems to be rebalancing our relationship with it,” He emphasised.
He said further, “Given the background, protected areas remain one of the prime nature-based tools for actualising this rebalancing act in the nature.”
“They do that by providing a safe haven for nature to flourish, valuable biodiversity to survive, and for life itself to sustain. These protected refuges of nature also create a payback mechanism by creating spaces for human recreation, promoting ecotourism, generating green jobs, enhancing resilience to natural disasters, contributing to food and water security through ecosystem restoration and addressing issues such as climate change by sequestering carbon,” the advisor explained.
The Pakistani delegation, led by the Prime Minister’s aide Malik Amin Aslam, comprised the climate change ministry Secretary Naheed Shah Durrani.