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PM highlights role of local communities in protecting biodiversity

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday Pakistan was enlisting the help of the local communities to protect biodiversity and boost country's climate change resilience, while increasing the number of national parks by 25%.

Addressing the UN Summit on Biodiversity 2020 via a video link, the prime minister highlighted the ecological diversity of the country and the government's flagship 10 billion tree planting initiative to mitigate the impact of climate change.

“Pakistan is one of those fortunate countries which is ecologically diverse from north to south, east to west. Pakistan has 12 climatic zones and the reason is that we have the steepest gradient,” Prime Minister Imran told the summit.

“In the north the highest mountain in Pakistan also happens to be the second highest mountain in the world, K2. From there to sea are 2,000 kilometres. So, we go from Alpine climate zone to right down to the tropics,” he added.

Imran said that his government had pledged to preserve “this valued biodiversity” to protect the flora and fauna. “For this we have enlisted the help of local communities for both biodiversity protection and climate change resilience,” he said.

The prime minister added that Pakistan was among the top-10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, therefore, the government had taken up the challenge to plant 10 billion trees with the help of local communities. “By giving them jobs that protect the forest as well as that grow nurseries so that we can achieve our target of the 10 billion trees,” he added.

Imran mentioned that the number of the country's national parks had been increased from 30 to 39 as part of the governments “Protected Areas Initiative” launched during the Covid era. “In the two years of our government, we have increased the national park by 9 or 25%. All this shows our strong commitment to the protection and preservation of biodiversity,” he added.

The Summit on Biodiversity 2020 has been convened by the president of the UN General Assembly, at the level of heads of state and government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel co-chaired a high-level “Leaders' Dialogue” through a video link. More than 116 are expected to address the unprecedented global event.

The pledges at the summit include a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, halt unsustainable fishing practices, eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies and beginning of the transition to sustainable food production systems and a circular economy over the next decade.


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