Islamabad : A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Wide Fund for Nature–Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) to further the cause of climate mitigation, climate adaptation, control of land degradation, food security, biodiversity conservation and enhancing community resilience in view of Pakistan’s needs, and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The MoU signing ceremony was held at the Islamabad Serena Hotel, where adviser to the prime minister for climate change Malik Amin Aslam, heads of NGOs and other stakeholders were in attendance.
Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels (South and Central Asia), said the MoU was meant to develop a collaborative framework of Serena Hotels with the implementing parties in the broad areas of habitat restoration through tree plantation and improving Pakistan’s forest cover across the country.
“This initiative will also support the protection of existing forests through implementation of a sustainable forest management plan, co-created with the local forest-dependent communities. It further aims to enhance community resilience, and improve food security by creating alternative livelihood opportunities, strengthening market linkages and establishing value chains for non-timber forest products,” he said.
Mr Boolani said the Serena Hotels were in discussions with the National University of Science and Technology to develop a system for the monitoring and reporting of the afforestation programme using aerial and satellite imagery.
“The monitoring system will link the project with the Government’s web portal, the National Forest Management System (NFMS) and REDD+ to bring transparency to our initiatives, and bring it into the fold of the national efforts,” he said.
CEO of WWF-Pakistan Hammad Ali Naqi and AKRSP CEO Jamiluddin highlighted their respective organisations’ unique contributions to the mitigation of climate change.
They said the recent COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for protecting vulnerable ecosystems.
The two underlined the importance of the private sector stepping forward and going beyond typical CSR activities to become leadership champions and provide stewardship by addressing the environmental footprint within their boundaries.
PM aide on climate change Malik Amin Aslam appreciated the initiative and promised the government’s support for it for the country’s green and clean future.
Acknowledging the efforts of AKRSP in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, he urged the WWF-Pakistan to come up with green certifications for the industry to regulate their environmental imprint and set an example for others to follow.