On the occasion of the World Environment Day, IUCN Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, organized a webinar to commemorate the day and highlight the importance of the Environment.

The theme of the day this year was: Time for Nature.The webinar was attended by government officials, experts, PQA, Ministry of Climate Change, academicians, NGOs and CSOs.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, IUCN Country Representative welcomed Mr. Malik Amin Aslam, Adviser to the Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (R) Syed Hasan Nasir Shah Chairman, Port Qasim Authority, Mr. Favad Soomro, Head of Engro Foundation, Representatives of Embassy of France, US Department of State, Embassy of Germany and a large number of representatives of the NGOs and Civil Society Organizations to the webinar.

Mr. Cheema recounted IUCN’s works towards protection of the environment. He said that IUCN has been instrumental in putting together strategies, action plans for the federal and provincial and district governments. IUCN’s works span from coasts to mountains in partnership with the government, IUCN Membership organizations, NGOs, academia and civil society organizations.

He appreciated the relationship of IUCN with the federal, provincial governments and other government agencies and especially with the Ministry of Climate Change in taking the environment agenda forward. He also lauded the able leadership of Mr. Malik Amin Aslam in handling the environmental affairs of the country. He added that since Mr. Malik Amin Aslam has taken the charge, a number of mega initiatives have been launched in the country that have gained recognition at the global level. These initiatives include: the Billion Tree Tsunami, Clean Green Pakistan, 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, Recharge Pakistan and the latest addition – the “Green Stimulus Package”.

Mr. Malik Amin Aslam thanked IUCN for organizing this webinar and commended the partnership of IUCN and the Ministry of Climate Change in carrying out a number of programmes and projects together. This collaboration has been pivotal in setting the national agenda and local environmental strategies and action plans aimed at addressing environmental concerns.

He informed that IUCN is working on cutting edge technology and taking forward numerous sustainable development agenda in coordination with the Ministry of Climate Change. The findings of this study will be useful for Pakistan, and will also be extremely valuable for presenting at the international fora such as IUCN World Conservation Congress, CBD and UNFCCC.

He noted that the last 3 years have seen major environmental and green initiatives launched. These include the Billion Tree Tsunami, Electric vehicle Policy, Recharge Pakistan, Clean Green Pakistan Index and Ecotourism.

He reminded that the advent of COVID-19 has resulted in the lockdown of economies around the world, but it has also produced a strong positive – a cleaner, purer environment for us all. He was of the view that nature after all has a way of healing itself. So environment essentially is a unique unexpected beneficiary of the global lockdown due to COVID-19.

The successful implementation of the Billion Tree Tsunami in K-P, generating five lac green jobs, has already proven that the revival of nature and economy can go hand in hand. Moreover, recent research shows that almost 50% of global GDP is directly dependent on nature and that for each dollar invested in nature the potential economic dividends are nine times greater (WEF, 2020).

He talked about the “Green Stimulus” the purpose of which is the creation and restoration of our natural ecosystems. The focus areas for intervention include planting trees, reviving our protected areas and sanitation improvement while the targeted beneficiaries are the unemployed youth and women and daily wagers currently out of jobs and migrating to rural areas,” he elaborated.

“The programme delivery has already been boosted to 65,000 daily wage “Nighabaan” jobs across the country in nursery raising, plant care, protection of natural forests, honeybee farming and fire-fighting activities. Through the provinces, we have planned to raise this to 200,000 jobs in the next few months,” observed Mr. Aslam. He added that the present government has made climate change an essential focus of its mandate. Therefore we are expecting to see change in coming months and years.

In his remarks, Rear Admiral (R) Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, Chairman, Port Qasim Authority said that Environmental degradation is not only threatening environmental sustainability, but also Pakistan’s ability to tackle poverty, as well as its ability to generate a substantial share of its growth and employment.

He suggested that Pakistan think for the long term with regard to environmental sustainability, many of the actions it could take to control and reverse environmental degradation and adapt to climate change would have immediate benefits and be particularly helpful to the under-privileged, who are most vulnerable.

Talking of the role of Port Qasim Authority he said that it has prioritized environmental betterment over the last few years now – and we are focusing on what we call responsible development. In the jurisdiction of Port Qasim Authority most of the companies are also ensuring environmental safeguards in the area.

Mr Favad Soomro, head of Engro Foundation, spoke about Engro’s ongoing and past partnerships with IUCN, focused on conservation and mangroves restoration. He highlighted some of the restoration initiatives undertaken in partnership with IUCN and PQA in the last 5 years, as well as spoke about the different community livelihoods programme underway along Karachi coast.

He said Engro was mindful of its commitment to the environment and all development was planned keeping in view the possible impacts on nature and ensuring environmental safeguards.

For more information, please contact:

George Sadiq, Programme Officer, Education Communication and Outreach, Cell: 0303-333-2127, email: george.sadiq@iucn.org

About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,326 government and NGO members and over 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.