Pakistan among first countries to meet ‘Bonn Challenge’
GLASGOW – Faisal Azfar Alvi: Senator Faisal Javed Khan of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday said that Pakistan has become one of the first countries to meet the international ‘Bonn Challenge’ by restoring over 600,000 hectares of land into forests and planting a billion trees in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Addressing COP26, a climate change conference in Glasgow, Senator Faisal said Pakistan has taken a lot of initiatives under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan to tackle the threat of climate change.
“Now we have committed to planting another 10 billion trees across the country and of that 10 billion, Pakistan has already planted over 1.5 billion trees”.
Besides Senator Faisal, Senator Mushahid Hussain and MNA Munaza Hassan, who is the Chairperson of the Climate Change Standing Committee, attended the moot on the invitation of Scottish Parliamentarians to discuss climate action under the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held on November 7.
The ruling party senator called for an “action oriented approach” in his speech to the IPU. He said that: “Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gas emissions but yet it is constantly amongst the top 10 countries affected by climate change”.
The IPU co-organised the COP26 parliamentary meeting in Glasgow over the weekend with the British Group of the IPU (BGIPU).
The IPU has long supported the engagement of parliaments in annual COP meetings through the organisation of parliamentary meetings. The parliamentary meeting in Glasgow was open to all parliamentarians attending COP26.
Over 200 parliamentarians attended the IPU session held in the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.
Pakistan had already met the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, a decade before the deadline of 2030, said the senator.
He also mentioned the other important initiatives taken by Pakistan to combat climate change like the Protected Areas Initiative, the Clean Green Pakistan Index for cities and Ecosystem Restoration Fund.
“We are playing our part but developed countries really need to come forward and collaborate with developing countries”. He said COP26 needed to come up with concrete pledges and commitments.
The aim of the meeting was to promote cooperation and open dialogue among international parliamentarians and inspire delegates to call on national governments to set ambitious plans to meet all the obligations of the Paris Agreement targets.
The sessions covered a broad range of topics relating to climate change and the road to reaching the net-zero objectives.
Senator Mushahid, speaking on the occasion, talked about Pakistan’s role in combating the climate change challenges.
Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries amid climate change, and suffered major “freak weather incidents” like floods, forest fires and avalanches, he said, referring to the fact that 10 years ago, around 20 per cent of the country was under water due to floods in Sindh and K-P and the Gyari avalanche had left at least 150 soldiers and civilians martyred at Siachen Glacier, 12,000 feet above sea level.
Senator Mushahid said as chairman of Defence Committee he had put an effort to redefine the concept of national security, which was traditionally based on military might only, but now redefined to focus on human security, protecting lives and livelihoods of people, giving priority to health and pandemics, population planning, education, and climate change and environment.
He proposed that all global initiatives for connectivity like China’s BRI, the United States’ B3W and the European Union’s Global Gateway, allocate especial funding for climate mitigation projects amongst the most vulnerable climate change affected countries like Pakistan, which he added would help in effectively meeting the challenge of climate change – the biggest non-traditional security threats facing humanity which requires a collective response to meet this common challenge, above partisan politics.