Dr Saeed Ahmad Ali
LAHORE, Jun 06 (APP):Restoring the ecosystem through sustainable measures will not only help protect the planet earth, but also improve the livelihood of its inhabitants, who are directly dependent on the green resources.
Besides, curbing diseases and lessening the risk of natural disasters is equally important to overcome the eco-degradation issues.
Having a look at various global survey reports showed that the top five global hazards, which the world is facing, are all related to the environment. Those include failure of climate change adaptation and mitigation, extreme weather events, major natural disasters and biodiversity loss, human-made environmental damage and global ecosystem-collapse, and related disasters.
All ecosystems including forest covers, farmlands, wetlands and oceans can be restored in natural designs, only if the global restoration initiatives against the myriad and varied drivers of eco-degradation are launched, according to the published outcome of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2020.
The report was derived from the results of an annual ‘Global Risks Perception Survey’ that was sent for comments to more than 800 member-countries of the WEF community.
The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is a high-level world body ever convened on the environment. It was constituted on 23 June 2014 at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with its headquarters in Kenya (Nairobi), which feeds directly into the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and has universal membership of all 193 UN member states including the other stakeholders and actors.
Various world forums and bodies including UN and World Economic Forum (WEF) have acknowledged the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan for practically implementing their most ambitious forestation plans for expanding and restoring the country’s biodiversity, ecosystems, wetlands and forests through his ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami” initiative, which spread over a period of five years.
Pakistan on Saturday hosted the World Environment Day 2021 main event, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). As the host of the event, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted the local and global environment degradation issues and showcased the country’s own initiatives before the world that his government was contributing to the global cause.
Noted environmentalist and forest expert Dr Sarwat Mirza told APP that hosting the World Environment Day-2021 was an unprecedented opportunity and honour for Pakistan.
The ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ initiative was perhaps the world’s largest struggle by a single country for restoring mangroves and forests, as well as planting trees in both urban and rural areas of the country, including schools, colleges, universities, barren areas, public parks and greenbelts, he said.
He appreciated the government efforts for launching ’Ecosystem Restoration Fund’ to support nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change and eco-degradation issues, and facilitate the transition towards environmentally resilient, ecologically targeted initiatives while covering afforestation, wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
Executive Director of UNEP Inger Andersen, in a statement on June 5, said that Pakistan had shown real leadership in efforts to restore the country’s biodiversity and forests.
We are all grateful for their commitment to host the World Environment Day 2021, and lead the charge for all nations to restore our degraded ecosystems through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, she added.
This year, the main feature, for the observance of the World Environment Day was on the theme of ‘Ecosystem restoration’ and focus on resetting ‘Our relation with nature’, bringing an golden opportunity for Pakistan to also mark the formal opening and launch of the ‘UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030’.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam lauded the address of Prime Minister Imran Khan on the World Environment Day. Talking to APP, he said that the premier announced four major key, forward-looking solutions on the Ecosystem Restoration Initiatives (ERI).
He said that it was for the first time in the history of the country that the premier, through his address, urged the world to join hands to protect environment and reset relationship with Nature, adding Prime Minister Imran Khan is fully committed to playing a leadership role in restoration of the global ecosystem and his efforts were being acknowledged globally.
Pakistan was committed to the global efforts which were being made for ecological restoration through nature-based solutions, he added.
He pointed out that the developing countries around the world were facing a plethora of environmental issues, including desertification, severity of climate change, deforestation, degradation of natural resources, soil erosion, melting of glaciers, high increase in the sea level, forest fires and depleting of freshwater resources.
Healthier ecosystems with richer biodiversity provide great human resources including fertile soils, larger stores of greenhouse gases, bigger yields of fish and timber, thriving wildlife in the natural environment, curtailing public health issues, reduction in poverty and enhancement of food security, he explained.
According to a document of the Ministry of Climate Change, the major initiatives of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government on the environmental uplift include the launch of the Green Eurobond worth $500m, transition to 60pc clean energy while converting 30pc of its vehicular fleet to electric facility by 2030.
Soon after the government announced its clean energy initiatives, it shelved imported coal projects intended to produce 2,600MW of electricity, in favour of hydroelectric mega projects, which will help generate 3,700MW energy.