Published Date: Nov 19, 2013
SDPI Press Release (November 19, 2013)
“National Consensus to save Pakistan’s Forests Reached” SDPI concludes PPAF and REDD on common grounds for poverty alleviation!
a highly inspiring national consultative meeting held at FAO office
Islamabad and attended by the highest level secretaries of the
provinces, a consensus was finally reached on the Readiness Proposal
document. Qazi Azmat Isa, Chief Executive, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation
Programme was the Chief Guest. Also present at the occasion was Mr David
Doolan, FAO representative. FAO is committed to help save Pakistan’s
forests under a new mechanism called REDD+. REDD+ offers cash rewards to
developing countries that save forests and then pays them for the
carbon stored in wood. The REDD+ mechanism has standards and procedures
to ensure forest safety.
meeting was a result of three years of hard work in building capacities
of local communities, NGOs, provincial forest departments and forest
owners. The consultation was attended by a wide spectrum of
stakeholders, including representatives from Pakistan Gujjar Bakarwals,
Guzara, Forest Advisory Committees of Murree and Kahuta, as well as
forest owners from Hazara, Gilgit Baltistan and Ziarat.
Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General of Forests informed that Pakistan’s
REDD+ proposal shall be defended in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon
Partnership Facility meeting. The meeting is due in Geneva next month
where only 3 out of 12 competing developing countries are expected to
get around US$4 million to implement the project. Qazi Isa committed to
provide support of highly trained human resource of PPAF and announced
to contribute US$0.5 million that PPAF is expecting soon from sale of
carbon credits. He further added that all carbon income will be devoted
to safeguard forests in Pakistan under the REDD programme. The programme
will also ensure active participation of women and indigenous
communities through PPAF’s on-field network.
Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal from the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) emphasized the importance of community participation in
the REDD implementation process. Mr. Iqbal, who is also the elected
civil society representative in the UN-REDD Policy Board, added that
without healthy participation of community, Pakistan may not get the
required support from the United Nations or the World Bank. He informed
that Pakistan can earn from US$400m up to 4 billion per year by sale of
carbon stored in forests every year, much more than what the country
earns from annual textile exports. This can be an attractive source of
earning foreign exchange and can thus be also of interest to the
Ministry of Finance. Moreover, there are environment friendly dividends
that can be reaped, such as soil erosion control, increased water flows,
and enhanced safety of wildlife. More importantly, the programme will
help towards poverty alleviation, which also serves as the common
denominator between REDD and PPAF.
Hassan Abbas, Secretary Climate Change re-affirmed that the federal
government’s role will be to facilitate coordination between the
provinces and to ensure effective implementation of the international
treaties to which Pakistan is a signatory.
was welcoming to note at the meeting that none of the provinces had any
reservations over the interventions presented. Khadim Hussain,
Provincial Secretary Forests, Gilgit, Mr Hijbani, Secretary Baluchistan
and Shokat Yusufzai, Additional Secretary Khyber Pukhtunkhwa informed
that provincial REDD focal points have already been notified while work
is in progress to establish REDD cells to further steer the process.