Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change at Islamabad on Monday to review the latest inventory reserves of Green House Gases (GHG) and progress made on the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Asad Umar, Minister for Power, Omar Ayub Khan, and Minister for Water Resources, Muhammad Faisal Vawda. Chief Ministers Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan, Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, SAPM, Malik Amin Aslam, Minister of State, Zartaj Gul, SAPM, Dr. Moeed Yousaf, and senior officials were also present during the meeting.
The participants were informed that Pakistan’s emission growth is 9 percent below Business as Usual baseline and below the NDC (Nationally Determined Commitments). This climate-friendly shift has been made possible due to increased forest cover due to the successful Billion Tree Tsunami project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the ongoing Ten Billion Tree Tsunami program across the country.
SAPM on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, apprised the meeting that the deforestation rate has significantly been reduced from 12000 hectares/year to 8000 hectares/year from 2012-2016 and will further fall with 10BTT success.
Pakistan is contributing less than 1 percent in global emissions. The overall ranking of the country vis-à-vis total emissions has shifted from 135 in 2015 to 133 in 2018 on per capita ranking.
Highlighting other successes, the SAPM said that Pakistan increased its mangrove cover by 300 percent during 1990-2020, which is a strong carbon-sequestering tool. It is the largest mangrove cover increase in the world.
The meeting was informed that the country is ranked as 8th in terms of Climate Vulnerability Ranking and faces threats of rain variability, urban flooding, increased temperature, and formation of glacial lakes.
SAPM, Malik Amin Aslam, also updated the Prime Minister about the progress of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami. Pakistan is set to achieve its first Billion Tree target by the middle of 2021, which will be celebrated across the country, the meeting was informed. Additionally, Pakistan is on target to achieve Phase-I of 3.2 billion trees by 2023. The meeting was further informed. The Committee was also briefed that the Consortium of three international agencies, including WWF, IUCN, and FAO, have already started their work for the Third-Party monitoring of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program.
The meeting was informed that 80,000 jobs were offered during the COVID-19 under the 10 BTT project.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while appreciating the efforts of the Ministry of Climate Change, directed to actively look into the possibility of net-zero emissions for Pakistan, which may become possible with the enhancement of the carbon sequestration potential.
Underscoring the need for putting in place an Early Warning System to mitigate the impacts of erratic climate change, the Prime Minister stressed the need for water treatment plants to purify contaminated surface water of the rivers.
Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the progress on the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme and directed for ensuring complete transparency, including actively engaging SUPARCO, for satellite imagery in the execution of the project across the country.