Adopting nature-based solution must for tackling challenges to humanity: PM’s aide

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Adopting nature-based solution must for tackling challenges to humanity: PM’s aide

July 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD:Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, said Thursday that adopting nature-based solutions to various socio-economic, environmental challenges and ongoing global climate crisis through sustainable management and sane use of natural resources is the most viable way-forward for attaining overall human and societal development while at the same time protecting the rapidly shrinking and strained natural resources.

“However, I urge the global community that instead of ruthlessly exploiting whatever the nature provides, we must use the natural sources to achieve overall development of the mankind and sustainability of mother earth and the life it harbours, including rapidly depleting water, forest and wildlife resources,” he said while addressing the Launching ceremony of ‘the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions’.

The IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (the “IUCN Global NBS Standard”) has been launched virtually today on July 23 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature from Switzerland after a two-year in-depth consultations and development processes that involved over 1,000 experts, practitioners and policymakers of global repute from over 100 countries.

The IUCN Global NBS Standard tool is the first-ever set of benchmarks for nature-based solutions to global challenges. It aims to help and encourage governments, NGOs, communities and business design to invest and scale-up action to address climate change as well as other related crises including diseases, food, energy, and water security so as to reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss, and boost disaster risk reduction.

The concept of nature-based solutions (NbS) – actions addressing key societal challenges through the protection, sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems, benefiting both biodiversity and human well-being – is increasingly being applied around the world.

More than 130 countries have already included NbS actions – such as reforestation, green infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, or coastal protection – in their national climate plans under the Paris Agreement. However, not all actions labelled as “nature-based solutions” provide the anticipated benefits to both society and biodiversity, and the global potential of NbS is far from being fully realized.

“It is the first-ever tool, launched today that would surely help with the creation of robust, durable actions for deriving benefits for people and nature,” Malik Amin Aslam told the participants of the launching ceremony from over 100 countries. He said further that in fact nature-based solutions standard tool offers a great potential to address our societal challenges sustainably and effectively.

Until now, there has been no agreed framework or standard that defines an effective NBS. The IUCN Global NBS Standard addresses this issue, providing a system to facilitate the development of solutions that benefit human well-being and biodiversity simultaneously, he added.

The launch of the IUCN Global NBS Standard on 23 July and global call for action marked the start of a series of NBS events in the run-up to the IUCN Congress scheduled for January 2021.

In his remarks, Malik Amin Aslam, who is also IUCN Vice President and Regional Councillor, said further that nature-based solutions provide a win-win solution not only for the nature’s protection to address global changes such as climate change and biodiversity loss, but also serve as an effective tool for a green economic revival delivering direct benefits to the people.

He highlighted that Pakistan “has implemented a post-COVID-19 “Green Stimulus” and it is no surprise that 75% of its focus is to utilise solutions that are based on natural resources through our 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, Clean Green Pakistan Initiative, Recharge Pakistan Initiative and the Protected Areas Initiative. All these together have delivered hundreds of green jobs for people with nature protection.

Malik said “The ‘Cash for Work opportunities provided through these green initiatives have been launched as a part of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for Green and Clean Pakistan’, which particularly entails the objectives of providing jobs while protecting nature.”

“It has been planned to get jobs for people as they worked for nature conservation. “The government increased the job opportunities from 30,000 to 80,000 and is planning to take it up to 600,000,” he added.

On the Protected Areas Initiative of the present government, he said that the Government would be starting National Parks Services by September and 5,000 young and passionate people will be given jobs to protect nature. The third initiative, he added, is the Clean Green Pakistan “

“Until now, there has been neither consensus nor coherent guidance on how to design and implement nature-based solution interventions that are capable of consistent delivery of benefits for people and nature,” said

Another keynote speaker Angela Andrade, Chair of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, said that until now, there has been neither consensus nor coherent guidance on how to design and implement nature-based solution interventions that are capable of consistent delivery of benefits for people and nature.

. “The contribution of the Commission, in addition to input from over 800 experts and practitioners from 100 countries, has been to guide the IUCN Global Standard, ensuring that it is scientifically robust and applicable across a wide range of regions and scenarios,” she added.

In his statement, the country head of the IUCN-Pakistan Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said that the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions is an excellent tool, which will benefit the people judiciously.

He told the ceremony, “The pandemic period was a big crisis, but we turned it into an opportunity,” he continued. At the end all these actions it will help us to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce air pollution, as well as protect nature while creating jobs.”

However, the tool Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions is very timely and would help countries like Pakistan to plan and monitor better the use of natural resources for achieving overall socio-economic development goals while safeguarding unsustainable use of the natural resources, he observed.

Mr. Cheema welcomed the development of NBS standards by IUCN, saying this will not only unravel the full benefits but also allow effective policy planning based on this much needed tool for mainstreaming nature revival within Government planning.

Other speakers of global repute included Teresa Ribera, Fourth Vice-President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Spain; The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom; The Hon Yann Wehrling, French Ambassador in charge of the Environment, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France; The Hon Mami Mizutori, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR).

Addressing the launching ceremony, IUCN’s Global Director for the Nature-based Solutions Group Stewart Maginnis, said that for nature-based solutions to fulfil their potential, we must ensure that the actions put in place today bring about the desired benefits for society and biodiversity. This Global Standard offers a rigorous, consistent and accountable framework that will help avoid any misuse and take nature-based solutions from the local to global scale.

“The world is looking for durable and effective options to tackle global challenges such as climate change, food and water security, and now, economic recovery from the global pandemic. To this end, the new IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions is ideally placed to harness and accelerate the sustainable use of nature,” Stewart Maginnis said.

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