Two key studies of the REDD+ Readiness Project inaugurated
Islamabad,World Wide Fund for Nature, Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) and the Federal Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) through its Office of the Inspector General of Forests (OIGF) is implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Readiness Preparation Project with the financial support of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank. The project is aimed at making necessary technical, institutional and legal preparations needed for formally implementing the REDD+ programmes in Pakistan. Major objectives of the project are to develop the national REDD+ strategy and its implementation framework, management and institutional arrangements for REDD+ implementation, development of baselines (forests reference emission levels/ reference levels), development of the national forest monitoring system including measurement, reporting and verification systems, development of social and environmental safeguards and capacity building outreach and awareness raising.
Under this project the OIGF has contracted out two key studies i.e. 1) Development of national REDD+ strategy and its implementation framework and 2) Development of national Forest Reference Emission Levels (FREL)/Forest Reference Levels (FRL) and National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) including Measurement, Reporting and Verifications (MRV) System for REDD+. The studies will be conducted by Indufor-Finland and CHIP Training & Consulting, Pakistan (CTC); and Oy Arbonaut Limited-Finland and WWF-Pakistan respectively.
In order to formally kickoff these two important studies and share the plans and methodologies with the stakeholders a joint inception workshop was held on 13 to14 February 2017 in Islamabad. Sajjad Haider, Secretary Forest Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), delivered the keynote speech on the importance of forests. Participants attending the workshop included Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan; Naseer Kashani, Secretary Balochistan; Shahid Rasheed Awan, Deputy Secretary Forests Punjab; conservators and deputy conservators of provincial forest departments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and GB. Participants from government institutions, academia, NGOs, United Nations agencies, Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan Forests Institute, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), Global Chnage Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), World Bank, South Punjab Forest Company and Urban Planning Unit also attended the inaugural session.
The discussion during the two-day technical sessions is expected to yield agreed methodologies and roadmap for developing REDD+ strategy, National Forest Monitoring System, Measurement Reporting and Verification System and Forest Reference Levels. These assignments have a pivotal role in successful implementation of REDD+ programmes in Pakistan.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is a mechanism of creating financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering positive incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low carbon paths to sustainable development with developed countries adequate and predictable support (UNFCCC). In Pakistan around 70,000 acres of forests are being cut down annually which has resulted in around 27,000 acres of fertile land becoming barren. According to government sources the country land surfaces has a forest cover of five percent; a fact refuted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank, which estimates the total forest cover in Pakistan to be only 2.1 percent—far less than the international standard of 25 percent forest cover required for a country.
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