ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have said that Government is fully aware of the fall out of the challenge posed by forest depletion and attaches high priority to environment protection. In his separate message on the occasion of World Environment Day President said Under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) government plans to increase forest cover from 5% to 6% by the year 2015. This will bring an additional one million hectares of land area under forest.
Pakistan has legitimate expectations from the newly developed mechanism of forest carbon trading whereby local people are compensated for their contributions to environment protection. “I am pleased to see that PPP Government has actively participated in international negotiations on environmental issues and several program are underway to implement international agreements”, he said.
He said that The World Environment Day is a wake-up call for the world community to realize that our land and water resources are under acute threat of degradation and badly impacting life of all living creatures including human beings. Climate Change is posing a major threat to our economy and existence, and this is largely owed to carbon emissions in industrialized counties.
President urged upon environmentalists, civil society and all stakeholders to make concerted efforts to protect existing forests, increase area under forest cover and turn Pakistan green by planting more trees to arrest the negative impacts of environmental degradation for a prosperous future.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in his separate message has said Government of Pakistan attaches high priority to environment protection and has promulgated several laws, worked out policies and implemented program to achieve this objective. He said the world community had recognized immense importance of forests as a global environmental agenda four decades ago, but practical measures to protect and develop global forests are not up to the mark.
The United Nations recognized this lapse and declared the year 2011 as International Year of Forests to invoke participation of all segments of the society in the noble task of forest protection and development. With reference to IYF 2011, all international program and days are attributed to forests and the World Environment Day on 5 June, 2011 specifically reminds us of our responsibility in this regard, he said.
Although federal and provincial governments have made tremendous efforts in forest conservation, yet we were able to maintain forest cover just at 5% of the country’s land area. PM said after the 18th amendment, major responsibility for conservation and development of forests rests with the provinces who may allocate maximum share out of NFC award for forestry sector, side by side reforming forest policies and laws to meet the needs of the time.
The federal government will continue to provide additional technical and financial support to the provinces from both the domestic and international sources. The theme of the World Environment Day 2011 ‘Forests: Nature at your Service’ underscores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems and reminds us to maintain this ecosystem so that we can reap maximum benefits of this priceless gift of the nature sustainably. Our government is committed to provide all available resources to the provinces and other partners for improving natural environment of Pakistan, PM said.