WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan was working with international creditors on an unnatural debt swap deal, which ties financial aid to improving a country’s environment .
In an opinion piece he wrote for CNN on World Environment Day, Khan stressed the need for a partnership between governments and financial institutions to stop the rapid degradation of the global environment.
“Pakistan is currently working with international creditors on a debt-for-nature swap deal, in which aid will be tied to achievements in biodiversity conservation,” he wrote.
Pakistan also recently launched the country’s first green bond, worth $ 500 million, which was well received in the global market.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan fully supports the United Nations Decade (2021-2030) on Ecosystems and is already working on an ambitious plan to expand and restore its forests, having already planted a billion trees and mangroves in the part of its 10 billion tree campaign.
“Pakistan’s mangrove cover has increased by 300 percent over the past decade, making it the only country in the world with expanding mangrove cover,” he added.
Mr. Khan noted that during the first phase of the Bonn Challenge, Pakistan pledged to restore 865,000 acres of degraded landscape in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – a target already exceeded.
“Now we are voluntarily committing to a much bigger national goal as part of the Bonn challenge to restore nearly 2.5 million acres of degraded / deforested land across the country by 2023,” a- he writes.
The Prime Minister regretted that decades of neglect placed the country on the list of countries most threatened by climate change, but stressed that “what is true for Pakistan is true for the world as a whole”.
“A third of the world’s agricultural land is now severely degraded, in part… forests are disappearing at an alarming rate in Pakistan and across the globe,” he wrote.
Khan warned that this degradation threatens global development, food security and peace, as congested and polluted urban spaces pose serious health and economic risks.
“As cities lose vegetation and encroach on the forests around them, they become more vulnerable to flooding, which Pakistan is familiar with,” he wrote.
The Prime Minister noted that when he was growing up, Lahore was called the “City of Gardens”, but since then “cars and concrete buildings” had replaced “the mango and guava trees sprawling across the city, while that previously clean channels are tarnished. with countless disposable plastic water bags ”.
Posted in Dawn, June 7, 2021