The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s initiative to restore the degraded lands and forests has surpassed its commitment to the Bonn Challenge – afforestation across 348,400 hectares by the end of 2017 – having already restored 350,000 hectares of land as confirmed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The project was initiated by the ruling government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in KPK in 2015. Chairman PTI, Imran Khan had initially pledged $150 million for the cause. The KPK government has already invested $123 million and will further allocate $100 million to continue the project up to 2020.
The project has achieved the target through planned afforestation (40%) and protected natural regeneration (60%).
The Bonn Challenge
The Bonn Challenge aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2025. KPK’s Billion Tree Tsunami is the first project that has fulfilled its pledge towards the restoration goals of the Bonn Challenge.
Billion Tree Tsunami Vision
According to the official website of the project, the project’s vision is to ensure Green Growth while striving for sustainable forestry development.
“The Billion Tree Tsunami Project is driven by current Government’s vision of Green Growth which ties in the needs for sustainable forestry development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa generating Green jobs, Gender empowerment, preserving Pakistan’s natural capital while also addressing the global issue of Climate Change”.
The government has also initiated 1300 nurseries throughout the KP province.
The successful completion of the project before the deadline is being applauded all over the world.
Global media outlets including BBC, VOA, Independent, UPI, Gulf News, Al Jazeera etc. and forums like World Economic Forum have acknowledged the efforts made by Pakistan to overcome the global climate challenges.
— Tehreek-e-Insaf (@InsafPK) August 20, 2017
— KPK Updates (@KPKUpdates) August 18, 2017
Inger Andersen, Director General of IUCN said,
“IUCN congratulates the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on reaching this momentous milestone. The Billion Tree Tsunami initiative is a true conservation success story, one that further demonstrates Pakistan’s leadership role in the international restoration effort and continued commitment to the Bonn Challenge”.
— IUCN (@IUCN) August 18, 2017
WWF has also praised the initiative of restoring the forests.
Why Billion Tree Tsunami?
Pakistan has one of the highest deforestation rates in Asia. According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2017, Pakistan is listed in the top 10 countries to be affected by climate change. These are driving factors for the Billion Tree Tsunami project, which aims to restore the beauty and wildlife of Pakistan.
Such initiatives are the need of the hour, not just in KPK but throughout Pakistan to restore its natural beauty and to counter climate change on a countrywide and global scale.