KARACHI, (Pakistan Point News - 13th Feb, 2017 ): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Monday said that expansion, protection and sustainable use of forests, protected areas, natural habitats and watersheds for restoring ecological functions in line with international agreements are on the top priorities of his government. This he said while talking to Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid here at the CM House, said a statement.
The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch and Secretary Forest Manzoor Shaikh. He said that Pakistan is one of the low forest cover countries with only five percent of land area under forests and tree cover. Adding that the major forests type in Sindh include coastal mangroves and riverine forests. On this the Federal Minister said that Pakistan is home to some of the world's most unique forests including Junipur, Deodar, Oak and Chilghoza forests.
Murad said that ecosystem services of forests significantly impact physical and mental health of human beings of multiple benefits like medicinal plants, regulating water, controlling soil erosion, climate resilient safety nets and controlling infectious disease. The chief minister said that his government was working to implement projects worked out in the light of climate change challenges. "We are planning to provide incentives for promoting farm forestry, urban forestry, commercial and industrial forestry by promoting private investments for increasing forests, he said.
Zahid Hamid said that the federal government is establishing trans-boundary economic corridors that could be an excellent opportunity for interconnecting protected areas, including wetlands alongside the length of economic corridors. Adding that these activities include protection, restoration and regeneration of native species of plants and animals along both sides of economic corridors. Murad said that wetlands and in particular, Ramsar Sites are subject to tremendous pressure from ever increasing urbansiation.
He further said that effluent from infrastructure projects finally lands in wetlands. "My government has worked out some effluent treatment plants to be installed in all industrial areas of the city to address the issue," he said. The federal minister lauded the chief minister for support and his ability to address issue. He said that he would present a bill on climate change in the senate by the end of this week. He assured the chief minister that he would support the provincial government to launch the projects to address the issues pertaining to climate change. The minister said that the federal government is constituting a Forestry Board in which all the provinces would be given representation.