Pakistan’s prime minister says initiative will extend green cover in country, create job opportunities for youth
Approving a Green Stimulus package on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed it as a key component in the government’s efforts to extend tree cover in Pakistan, and create job opportunities for the youth, especially in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Green Stimulus package is a part of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project and would focus on promoting plantation, establishing nurseries and natural forests, and promoting honey, fruit, and olive tree plantation. Under the package, a Green Nigehabaan initiative would be launched to provide job opportunities to laborers by employing them in the plantation campaign. The initiative would hire 65,000 people in its initial phase.
Commenting on the Green Stimulus package, the prime minister said addressing climate change issues and enhancing tree cover in the country was among the foremost priorities of the incumbent government. He said the Green Nigehbaan initiative would offer employment opportunities to the youth and help to promote the objectives of a Clean and Green Pakistan.
The program, he added, would help daily wagers earn a living with dignity during the recent economic downturn arising out of the movement restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Khan directed all stakeholders, including provincial governments and international bodies, to be engaged to enhance the scope of the program and create additional jobs. He also directed the Ministry of Climate Change to prepare a plan of action to engage the international community under the Debt for Nature Swap program to convert part of the country’s debt into a grant for greater plantation and environment protection activities.
The prime minister said transparency and community participation must be ensured for the successful completion of the program, adding it promised a better future for the coming generations.
Khan also emphasized that areas must be demarcated, in collaboration with the provinces, to establish national parks all over the country as a step towards the promotion of a Green and Clean Pakistan.
The prime minister, in November 2019, launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index, which judges cities in Punjab province on how they address issues such as the provision of safe drinking water, solid waste management, liquid waste management, city beautification, cleanliness of streets, usability of parks, tree plantation, total sanitation/hygiene, and community participation.