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Published Date: Mar 21, 2014

SDPI Press Release (March 21, 2014)

Parliamentarian
and officials focused upon the issue of forest decline and its
management here at length at a seminar titled “Save the Forests:
Promoting Green Growth in Pakistan” that was organized by Sustainable
Development Policy Institute.

SDPI
celebrated “International World Forest Day 2014” in collaboration with
the Climate Change Division, GoP. The purpose of the event was to
highlight the significance of Day and International Year of Forests and
to create community awareness on importance of forest ecosystem.
Maryam Aurangzeb, MNA Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chaired the session.

Maryam
Aurangzeb discussed the role of present government in the context of
MDG’s and shared that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Shareef has
formulated Pakistan Environment Council (PEC), a committee comprising 10
members to discuss and strategize about issues of forestation. By
following the same forum, committees on provincial level are also going
to be formulated, where all Chief Ministers will have an active role to
play. “Such forums can be utilized for indigenous knowledge to solve the
issues of food security, risk management, storage and stabilizing
climate change and also ensure participation of youth”.  Further she
stressed upon a need for a strong advocacy campaign to address this
issue.

Patrick
T. Evans, FAO Representative to Pakistan, said that International Day
of Forests is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of
forests towards our economic, social and environmental security. Though
the meager forestry resource is less than 5 % of the total geographical
area of Pakistan, which is faced with the major challenges of
degradation.

Dr.
Abid Qayyium Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI talked about the needs of
a comprehensive definition of what comes into the category of forests,
and that how to balance livelihood of dependent people with
deforestation. He said that, in this context, SDPI ensured its full
support and strength in the form of
multi-disciplinary and problem-oriented research. SDPI can also help in generating an advocacy campaign that revolves around with the policy needs, research capacity and interest of such issues.

In
his welcome address, Nasir Mehmood, Inspector General Forest, Climate
Change Division GoP stressed on the need of a transparent procedure of
monitoring forest in Pakistan. He said that
Tharparkar has come under natural stress many times before, but there was never a collapse of local sustenance systems like today.
Plantation like Guggal, Prosopis or Aloe Vera can be efficient for such
areas as they have extreme drought resistance. “We need a proper
planning and implementation to survive such natural disasters.

M.
Abdul Sattar from Sindh Forest Department discussed the ranglelands for
food security in Sindh. He said that attention should be given to
protect blocks of rangelands in Tharparkar and Kohistan areas by fencing
to manage them under rotational grazing system and keep them reserved
for drought like situation as fodder banks. Priority may be given to
Rangelands in the allocation of funds as this approach would be a
proactive rather than a reactive approach. “Lack of coordination among
stakeholders and inappropriate investment by Government is responsible
for Thar Crisis”, he said.

Dr. Kamran Khan, Hamdard University, Islamabad discussed that deforestation
can be controlled by creating a level of consciousness in society &
awareness through proper research, political commitment, brainstorming
and lawmaking regulators.