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News ID: 4596
Publish Date: 24 June 2017 - 14:42
The Green Pakistan Program, officially launched in February of this year, received a much needed impetus when the World Bank declared it is open to committing US$100 million to the Pakistani government’s initiative.
ECO-IESTECO-IEST: The Green Pakistan Program, officially launched in February of this year, received a much needed impetus when the World Bank declared it is open to committing US$100 million to the Pakistani government’s initiative. The World Bank’s promise comes at the time when government has declared Astola Island as Pakistan’s first marine protected area. An initiative which makes up a little for an otherwise dismal record on climate change.

The Green Pakistan program pledges to plant 100 million trees throughout the country in the next five years. The initiative has received plaudits from both the national and international community, and it is heartening to see provincial governments responding to the federal government’s commitment to protecting Pakistan’s climate. It was the Baloch provincial government which declared Astola Island as a marine protected area, and in its 2017-18 budget, Sindh’s provincial government has earmarked a sum of Rs. 448 million for the Green Pakistan Program. The PTI led government in KP also deserves credit for this sudden empathy for the environment amongst our leaders. It was, after all, the KP government’s 1 billion tree initiative which set the tone for the recent initiatives aimed towards our environment.

It is, however, important to raise a word of caution here. Pakistanis too often have been subject to promises that our leaders have subsequently left unfulfilled. As the minister for climate change, Zahid Hamid mentioned in a briefing to the Senate, Pakistan is one of the ten countries most threatened by climate change. It is imperative, therefore, that the federal and provincial governments fulfil their commitments and strive to make our environment better. To do this, our government must undertake a complete assessment of all projects which are negatively impacting the environment. This includes large scale projects such as dams which threaten local biodiversity, and power generation projects such as nuclear power and thermal power plants.

The government’s claims of caring for the environment will ring a hollow tune if it continues to rely on and expand Pakistan’s reliance on thermal power generation to meet the country’s energy needs. Similarly, policy makers must also focus on urban environmental damage, which in most cases, hurts the less privileged. The recent fire in Grenfell Tower London, although not specifically an example of an environmental catastrophe, shows how poor planning and weak infrastructure cause the greatest damage to individuals who cannot afford adequate living conditions. Thus, the class dimensions of urban environmental damage cannot be ignored. Only by meeting these challenges head on will Pakistan be able to overcome the threat of climate change.


Source: Daily Times

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