The News International
Published Date: Jun 3, 2021
Govt focusing on nature-based solutions for ecosystem restoration
LAHORE:A seminar on financing arrangements for ecosystem restoration in Pakistan was held at GC University Lahore here on Wednesday under Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in connection with World Environment Day 2021.
Addressing the seminar via video link, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that the government was focusing on nature based solutions for ecosystem restoration to benefit people and the planet. He said last week Pakistan floated worth $500 million green euro bonds.
“The resources generated through these bonds will be used to provide green energy. Similarly, Pakistan has set up Ecosystem Restoration Fund which will create 200,000 green jobs,” he added. Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan was going to start dialogue with some bilateral lenders for debt for nature swap, adding that Pakistan would be the first country to go for this financial instrument for their nature performance. Finance Minister Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said their contribution to the world air pollution is negligible but they are in the top five most affected countries due to climate change. He said PTI converted 150 million hectares into green lands and aimed to move to 30pc green energy. He said aquifer in Lahore is depleting and to refill it is important to create lake around Lahore. He said Lahore would be the first city to monetise water. He said green financing is growing faster. “In Lahore, smog was a major concern. We, by declaring smog as a disaster, put restriction on brick kilns and shifted it to zig-zag technology,” he said.
The minister revealed that the Punjab Environment Endowment Fund has been established and five billion rupees would be allocated for it in the budget. The minister said green financing is going to be a good market that they have been tapping the opportunity. Minister for Environment Muhammad Rizwan talked the Punjab government’s initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. He said there was an idea to introduce air purifiers in classrooms but unfortunately, they couldn’t work on it due to lockdown. He said that over next ten years of the UN Decade for restoration of ecosystem, Pakistan would keep playing its role.
In his opening remarks, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Q Suleri said Pakistan despite being one of the least polluter countries have been facing the brunt of climate change.
“This is duty of polluters to pay for ecosystem restoration; Pakistan calls for green climate fund and thinking of initiating debt swap for nature performance,” he said. Suleri said that Pakistan would be working with countries and the United Nations to initiate nature performance bonds as ‘our performance to protect nature is visible now in terms of 10 billion tree tsunami.’