Islamabad, October 18, 2020 (PPI-OT):Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, has reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to join global efforts for protecting environmentally and biologically-sensitive areas worldwide to stem loss of biodiversity resources, which feed the life on earth. He said this while speaking to the first meeting of the international High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, jointly organised by the French and Costa Rican governments, climate change ministry media focal person and deputy director Muhammad Saleem told media here on Sunday.

Environment ministers of UK, Canada, Spain, France and fourteen other countries also spoke at the virtual meeting. The HAC for Nature and People is an intergovernmental group established to achieve an ambitious deal reached at the Convention on Biological Diversity last year in order to reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss and revive ecosystems that are critical to species and humanity’s survival.

It also aims to promote the integral role that additional terrestrial and marine protection must play in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The climate change ministry official said further that Malik Amin emphasized during his address that biodiversity for food and agriculture are among the earth’s most crucial resources, adding that crops, farm animals, aquatic organisms, forest trees, micro-organisms and invertebrates – thousands of species and their genetic variability make up the web of biodiversity that the world’s food production depends on. “Without checking the loss of biodiversity, we only would be exacerbating challenges to the sustainability of the life on the planet earth,” Malik Amin warned at the global meeting.

The Climate Change Ministry media focal person Mr. Saleem said that while highlighting the incumbent government’s role to arrest biodiversity loss and environmental degradation in environmentally-fragile areas, Malik Amin informed the participants that under the country’s Protected Areas Initiative measures were being taken to improve environmental governance, management, financing and conservation activities on about 7,200 square kilometers. Mr. Saleem highlighted that the PM’s aide said further that under the PAI the coverage of protected areas would be increased from 12% to 15% over the next three years, which would directly support the objective of HAC to enhance global protection status of the biodiversity resources.

PM’s Special Assistant Malik Amin also highlighted that during the COVID-19 outbreak, about 85,000 green jobs created for the virus-idled jobless people through the world-acclaimed Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP), which aims to expand the country’s forest cover by planting/regenerating 3.29 billion plants during Phase-I of the flagship programme initiated under the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of Clean Green Pakistan, the climate change ministry media focal person told media.

He said that Berangere Abba, Secretary of State for Biodiversity of France while chairing the meeting informed that the central goal of HAC is to champion the protection of at least 30 percent of the world’s land and ocean by year 2030 in line with scientific advice. ? She mentioned that this increased target would promote indigenous-led conservation, prioritise intact ecosystems, and focus on areas most important for biodiversity and climate, according to the ministry official, quoting her further said, “The resulting network of conserved areas should be ecologically representative, well-connected, and maintain species diversity and abundance”.

While explaining the additional Goals of the HAC, Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica said that protection of the land resource would fully deliver on its potential in terms of the fair sharing of benefits to people, biodiversity and to a stable climate, Mr. Saleem said quoting her. The media focal person Muhammad Saleem said that HAC also supports several other biodiversity-related goals, including the effective management of protected and conserved areas, increased public and private financing to ensure long-term management and local governance, and clear implementation mechanisms to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030.

The Ministry official said that another meeting speaker Mr. Zac Goldsmith, Minister of Environment for UK and Northern Ireland highlighted that while HAC is focusing its efforts on the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the planet by year 2030, it supports action for the rest of the planet to be sustainably managed, which would call for tackling the drivers of global biodiversity loss and take initiatives to enhance forest cover, tame expanding desertification, particularly through afforestation activities.

“Mr. Goldsmith mentioned during his address that being host of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity strong commitment shall be obtained from other member countries for the agreement to protect at least 30% of the planet’s lands and seas by year 2030,” the ministry official said. Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister for Environment and Climate Change said that all possible venues and international forums might be explored for promoting nature-based solutions including UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Other speakers in the meeting also suggested that common grounds on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework may be highlighted at the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention and Intergovernmental Science – Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, he told media further.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide Malik Amin in his concluding remarks underlined that Pakistan has practically demonstrated through TBTTP, Green Stimulus Initiative, Protected Areas Initiatives and Recharge Pakistan programme, that how nature-based solutions could be converted into an opportunity during COVID 19 pandemic, which provide both green economic opportunities, jobs while providing protection to the ailing biodiversity and environmental sources, the climate change ministry official Muhammad Saleem said.

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