Zartaj Gul says PM Imran Khan’s green agenda won global applause



ISLAMABAD, SEPT 21 – Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Malik Amin Aslam, said that while the implementation of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme across the country is full swing, all-out efforts are being taken to ensure its effective monitoring, reporting and verification at all levels for attainment of desired outcome of enhanced environmental development and climate change resilience of the country.

Addressing the participants of the high-level event ‘Third Party Monitoring of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme’, as a chief guest here on Monday at the local hotel Malik Amin said further that in management projects and programmes, information regarding its transparent implementation is not always readily accessible to everyone and is on a need-to-know basis for some.

The project or programme directors, managers and relevant key stakeholders are the ones with access to all the information. This lack of transparency can lead to public distrust and resentment and hamper publicity of the programme and project activities, Malik Amin added.

He said, “We hope that independent and impartial monitoring and evaluation by third party of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (TBTTP), would help systematically measure and assess programme activities across the country through various internationally-used tools and techniques and provide support to establish and maintain public trust about the activities.”

Meanwhile, recalling the pressing reasons behind success story of the Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (BTTP), upon philosophy of which the TBTTP is built, the special assistant Malik Amin said that tackling challenges of timber mafia, enhanced community participation, sustained focus on both regeneration of new forests and reignvigoratig the existing forests and lastly the enhanced transparency through the third party monitoring and evaluation of the BTTP’s activities across the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province were the key driving forces behind the successfulness of the afforestation project.

The TBTTP success story, under which 1.18 billion trees were planted across the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province against the target of one billion trees, mustered not only international support but also it was globally recognised by various international organisations including the World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme and UN-Food and Agriculture Organisation as the best replicable climate change mitigation and adaptation initiative in other countries.

Malik Amin Aslam said that thanks to heightened political support by the KPK provincial government, the TBTTP not only surpassed the target but also helped restore the province’s ailing forestry and wildlife sectors, creating thousands of green jobs for unemployed women and young people.

Malik Amin pointed out that every country is bound to meetreporting requirements to various multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) of different international organisations such as UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). However, the third-party monitoring and evaluation of the TBTTP would significantly help meet the country’s requirements for reporting on progress on environmental development, conservation and protection of forests and wildlife resources and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, said that setting up of the Third-Party Monitoring and Evaluation System for impartial assessment of the TBTTP activities across the country has present government’s strong backing.

“The third-party monitoring and evaluation would demonstrate to the global community and the peoples of Pakistan that the incumbent government of the Prime Minister Imran Khan is seriously committed to accountability for the spending of public money at all levels and in every form,” Zartaj Gul emphasized.

Highlighting the prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for clean and green Pakistan as a part of his green agenda, the state minister Ms. Gul said that under the overarching PM’s flagship Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, the country has gained global applause for adopting the green agenda.

“Because, adopting the ambitious green agenda is significantly helping to pull out the country from the soaring issues of environmental degradation, deforestation and illegal wildlife hunting and poaching.

Giving overall overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Third-Party Monitoring and Evaluation Consortium, the Secretary Climate Change Minister, Naheed Shah Durrani told the participants that the third party monitoring and evaluation would be conducted jointly by the UN-Food and Agriculture Organisation, International Union for Conservation of Nature – Pakistan (IUCN-P) and World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF-P), which will operate as a consortium, which would conduct the third-party monitoring and evaluation of TBTTP from 2020 to 2024 across the country.

She said further that the IUCN-Pakistan would be responsible for the coordination, logical framework development, proposal development and biodiversity assessment; FAO would be responsible for the database tools for regular field data collection and periodic forest cover change assessment through remote sensing using UN-FAO’s collect earth tool, and provide technical support on the integrated watershed management, forest landscape restoration including rangeland management; whereas,  WWF – Pakistan would carry out field sampling and monitoring except in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Director-General of the WWF-Pakistan Hammad Khan Naqi said that the proposal for Third-Party Monitoring and Evaluation would be rolled out to evaluate maximum 30% of the plantation sites, 30% for Wildlife Conservation, 100% of the Protected Areas.

However, the actual achievement would depend on effective coordination and cooperation between all the members of third-party consortium and provincial and federal stakeholders involved in the implementation of TBTTP, said Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, the country representative IUCN-Pakistan.

He also highlighted that the Third-Party Monitoring and Evaluation Consortium would yield numerous benefits for the country such as enhanced credibility, public trust, meeting international reporting requirements on various multilateral environmental agreements and government’s heightened commitment in transparent utilisation of public funds allocated for the TBTTP, the country’s largest afforestation programme.