Visiting UN Chief lauds Pakistan’s Green Initiatives, says will enhance country’s climate-resilience

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Visiting UN Chief lauds Pakistan’s Green Initiatives, says will enhance country’s climate-resilience

February 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says tackling negative fallout of global warming on various socioeconomic sectors is a common responsibility of all global partners.

“The global warming is the biggest common threat of the present time to the very survival of all living beings on Earth. However, overcoming the exacerbating risk of global warming-caused climate change is only possible through united global climate action involving mitigation and adaptation measures, particularly in forest, water, food, energy and transport sectors.” he said while ddressing a conference on ‘Sustainable Development and Climate Change’ theme here on Sunday. Guterres called for the need to roll out plans in these and other social and economic sectors to protect lives and livelihoods of the people, particularly those living in vulnerable areas.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and non-governmental organisation IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The UN general secretary is on a four-day visit to Pakistan to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees. He arrived on Sunday (February 16) here on his first trip to Pakistan where he will participate in the two-day international conference on 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

He said goals of global peace and prosperity are linked with alleviation of poverty, inequality and hunger, tackling diseases and achieving sustainable development goals as well as now fast unfolding challenge of climate change.

During his keynote address to the event, the UN secretary general appreciated various green initiatives taken by the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team to fight negative effects of rapidly shifting weather patterns caused by the global warming.

He particularly made a mention of the Pakistan’s largest afforestation project called 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme that will cast positive impacts at global, regional and local levels.

He hoped that the present government’s Clean Green Pakistan Programme, Recharge Pakistan, launch of Pakistan Electric Vehicle Policy and other climate-smart agriculture and water management programmes will help enhance Pakistan’s climate resilience and protect its economy from negative effects of the global warming.

Earlier, in her address, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said the government has taken concrete measures to address challenges of climate change.

In his address, Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam stted Pakistan ranks among the top 10 most vulnerable countries to the climate change, which is losing billions of rupees because of global warming-induced damages from disasters, particularly floods, landslides, land erosion, coastal erosion, sea-level rise, heat waves and declining rainfall patterns.

He said the incumbent government has zero-tolerance policy against timber mafia involved in illegal deforestation and massive cutting down of trees in the country.

The adviser said the government launched Billion Tree Tsunami Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to address threats and challenges of climate Change.

He said the government recently approved an ambitious National Electric Vehicles Policy, with an objective to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The adviser said the government increased 16 percent budget for development projects related to environment and Climate change.

Later responding to a question regarding Kashmir, the Secretary General stressed that human rights must be respected anywhere in the world.

To a question on human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he has been always advocating the need for enhanced dialogue between Pakistan and India and even offered his good offices more than once.

He said good offices can be accepted if both countries agree to it.

The Secretary General said we have been expressing very clearly the absolute need for human rights to be fully respected in Occupied Kashmir.

He said two reports presented by the UNHCR on the situation shows the solid contribution for that and those reports are very important in clarifying the situation.

He said our strong commitment is clear that human rights must be respected anywhere in the world.

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