WB pledges support for post COVID-19 recovery

By Staff Reporter
Friday – October 9, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The special assistant to prime minister on climate change (SAPM-CC) Malik Amin Aslam thanked the World Bank (WB) country director to Pakistan (Pak-CD) Najy Benhassine, Thursday, for conveying WB’s commitment of supporting the incumbent regime’s post COVID-19 (coronavirus) recovery through green stimulus programme (GSP) initiated under the ten billion trees tsunami programme (TBTTP).

According to an official statement, a three-member delegation, led by the WB Pak-CD Benhassine called on SAPM-CC Aslam at his office, in the federal capital.

SAPM-CC Aslam informed WB Pak-CD Benhassine that prime minister (PM) Imran Khan approved the GSP in April this year as part of the incumbent’s efforts to extend the green cover and to create job opportunities for the youth, under which so far over 86,000 green jobs were created for daily wagers rendered unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He informed WB Pak-CD Benhassine that an ambitious protected areas initiative (PAI), recently approved by PM Khan, was launched under the umbrella programme ‘Green Pakistan,’ which is the incumbent regime’s historic milestone for nature conservation and promotion of nature-based solutions and creation of green jobs.

It aims to expand the country’s protected areas cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs countrywide that are viewed as crucial in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time protecting natural resources, SAPM-CC Aslam added.

While sharing more details of the green and clean Pakistan initiatives launched under PM Khan’s vision for clean and green Pakistan, he told the WB delegation members that the climate change ministry has launched several flagship programmes and projects including the world’s largest afforestation programme of TBTTP, clean green Pakistan programme (CGPP), PAI, plastic-free Pakistan initiative (PFPI), recharge Pakistan initiative (RPI) as a part of the country’s efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and climate resilience through conservation and protection of environment, forests and wildlife, wherein community and youth engagements are being given top priority.

The WB Pak-CD Benhassine lauded PM Khan government’s green and clean initiatives for generation of green jobs through green stimulus initiative for green economic recovery and green jobs creation, afforestation programme, protection and conservation of environment, wildlife and enhancing Pakistan’s resilience against adverse impacts of climate change on water, energy, agriculture, food security, energy, health, education and lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable rural and mountain communities.

Meanwhile, both sides vowed to work hand in hand towards tackling negative fallouts of the current global health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming on various socio-economic sectors of the country for achieving equitable and inclusive social and economic growth and mitigating poverty and diseases.

“Its really amazing and inspiring that despite limited financial resources, Pakistan launched green stimulus initiative under CGPP, which has led to creation of thousands of green jobs for those rendered unemployed due to COVID-19 pandemic,” WB Pak-CD Benhassine said during the meeting.

Both sides agreed to work closely in various areas including environmental development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, air pollution reduction, disaster risk mitigation.

WB Pak-CD Benhassine said that his organisation is fully aware that Pakistan is confronting both the immediate and longer-term health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, which have affected country’s social and economic growth.

He told SAPM-CC Aslam that the WB, however, will utilise all-out financial, technological and knowledge resources to support Pakistan through its experiences in overall post COVID-19 green recovery by dint of enhanced investment in green sectors including forestry environmental protection and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate-vulnerable socio-economic sectors.

“Its indeed our pleasure to hear that the WB is so passionate, looking at opportunities for jointly working and sharing its experiences regarding promotion of clean and renewable energy, environmental conservation, air pollution mitigation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, efficient water management and disaster risk reduction,” SAPM-CC Aslam said.

He remarked that the world today has been forced to accept that it is the destruction of wildlife habitats as well as the degradation of the world’s ecosystems that are the root cause of the pandemic — COVID-19.

“However, this ongoing catastrophe is painfully reminding us that collectively we no longer have a choice but to respect the natural limits and boundaries of our coexistence with other species. Nature, while reclaiming lost space, seems to be rebalancing our relationship with it,” SAPM-CC Aslam emphasised during the meeting.