Islamabad, 29 March 2022 (TDI): As the world prepares to commemorate five decades of environmental activism at Stockholm +50 in June, the Pakistani Government takes a look back at projects and activities that have had a beneficial impact on the environment and people’s lives.

Pakistan is demonstrating what is possible over a year into the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 by forging through with its Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project (TBTTP).

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan lauded the efforts of his team to realize the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project. He expressed his appreciation through his official Twitter handle.

The Ten Billion Tree Tsunami is supporting livelihoods as well as helping to rehabilitate ailing ecosystems and improving natural capital. Almost 85,000 daily wagers are estimated to be employed as a result of the initiative.

Furthermore, Pakistan’s protected areas project would result in the creation of about 7,000 long-term jobs.

Between 2019 and December 2021, the ambitious initiative, which aims to restore Pakistan’s forest and animal resources as well as provide a slew of other benefits, planted 1.42 billion trees across 1.36 million acres and nearly 10,000 sites.

“Large scale restoration initiatives such as The Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project are central to Pakistan’s efforts to support the UN Decade and to increase ecosystem restoration,” UNEP’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Dechen Tsering, stated.

“We are at a point in history where we need to act, and Pakistan is leading on this important effort.” Pakistan also hosted the World Environment Day in 2021.

According to research conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) prior to the start of the TBTTP project, just around 5% of the country is covered in forest, compared to a global average of 31%, making it one of the six countries most vulnerable to climate change.

According to a UNDP assessment, Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to rising monsoon variability, retreating Himalayan glaciers, and catastrophic events such as floods and droughts. Food and water insecurity will rise as a result of these developments.

It is a problem that the Pakistani government is well aware of and is working to resolve as soon as possible. In addition to the TBTTP, the government has pledged to increase Protected Areas to 15% by 2023. They were at 12% in 2018 and 13.9 percent by the middle of 2021.

Pakistan’s environmental concerns are aggravated by the country’s massive population. It is the world’s fifth-most populous country, putting increasing pressure on the environment.

Furthermore, the World Bank estimates that over 24% of Pakistan’s population is poor, putting them at greater risk of climate change impacts. This is due to their greater reliance on natural resources and their inability to cope with climatic fluctuation.

According to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Inclusive Wealth Report for Pakistan, a first-of-its-kind accounting of the country’s natural, human, and produced capital, Pakistan experienced a drop in natural capital between 1990 and 2014, a trend that is now being reversed.

“It’s concerning that natural capital has declined, including in Pakistan,” Tsering remarked. “However, the initiatives taken by the country’s administration to turn things around, particularly with its restoration programs, are encouraging.”