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    Statement by Federal Minister of Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam at the virtual commemoration of UN World Environment Day Event

    Chitral Times Report

    ISLAMABAD: Distinguished Excellencies, Assalam u alaikum. I would like to first of all state that it is a privilege for Pakistan to be hosting this year’s World Environment Day. It is a privilege because it focuses on ecosystem restoration, and it also kickstarts a whole decade on ecosystem restoration. I think globally there is no doubt that we have fractured our relationship with nature, and it is time to heal this fracture. We can only heal it through nature itself. So, this focus on ecosystem restoration is absolutely essential, not only for us but also for the whole world. And that is the message of the World Environment Day this year, and for the decade, 2021 to 2030. Pakistan as a country is committed to ecosystem restoration.

     

    We are not just talking but we are also walking the talk. We have initiatives on the ground, including the 10 billion tree Tsunami, which is restoring over 1 million hectares of forest, the Protected area initiative, which is announcing new national parks and making sure our old national parks are properly managed. You already announced 15 new national parks during the Covid era. The recharge Pakistan initiative, which is trying to use our floodwaters to restore our degraded wetlands, and to recharge our aquifers. So, all of these are using nature to heal our relationship with nature. They’re all nature based solutions. Pakistan believed in restoring nature, even during the challenging times of Covid-19. Our Prime Minister, Imran Khan led the way as we announced a green stimulus, which not only created jobs for our youth during the Covid era, but also protected nature. We have created more than 85,000 jobs during the Covid era, which have now increased 280,000 jobs during the year, and we hope that we are going to go towards a green recovery, and a nature based recovery as we move out of the Covid era. So, I think now is the time that we need to focus globally on this issue.

     

    Also, I would like to state here that our green financing needs innovation, and Pakistan has stepped forward with a number of innovative instruments. We have announced our ecosystem restoration fund, which has now got over 180 billion US dollars, and we are investing it not only in nature protection but also the provision of green jobs. We have already provided around 180,000 green jobs through that project. We are also announcing a nature for biodiversity swap, or a nature for a debt swap which is still under negotiation. I think the world needs to step forward with green financing, and to make sure that countries like Pakistan who are putting their political commitment and their money on the line for nature, are ably supported, in this decade of ecosystem restoration and Inshallah tomorrow on the World Environment Day, we will have further four big announcements coming from our prime minister, which will be on marine protected areas, which will be on our terrestrial activity on ecosystem restoration, and which will be on climate finance. Thank you.

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