The government is planning to present a comprehensive National Forest Policy before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in its next meeting for approval from all the four provinces. Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid informed this to the National Assembly during the Question Hour here on Wednesday.
He said the process of consultation on the draft policy is in its final stages and revised version of the draft policy will be presented before the CCI in its next meeting for consideration. The minister said that his ministry was engaged actively with the provinces, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Capital Development Authority (CDA) to finalise the forestation measures at the national level.
He also informed the House that Pakistan became regular member of Mangroves for the Future (MFF) regional programme in 2010 jointly managed by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The main focus of this initiative is to empower coastal community to conserve and ensure sustainable use of coastal resources. One of its components is to protect and enhance Mangrove forests of Pakistan with the participation of local communities, he said.
Ministry of Climate Change is implementing a project on REDD+ with the ultimate objective to control deforestation in the country with the full collaboration of the provinces, he said, adding that the project aims to prepare Pakistan to enter into full execution of market and non market based REDD+ under the UNFCCC United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Informing the House about reduction in carbon emissions, he said the energy sector is the single largest source of Green House Gas emission in Pakistan; it contributes nearly 51% of these emissions and is followed by the Agriculture sector (39%), Industrial processes (6%), Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (3%) emissions and wastes (1%).
Priority, short term, mid-term and long term actions in all sectors of the economy have already been devised in the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy, he said. Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry informed the House that the government has taken a number of steps to provide education and training facilities to disabled persons in 11 institutions in the federal capital.
Responding to a question, Minister of State for Education Muhammad Balighur Rehman told the House that a total of 35407 scholarships have been awarded under 24 developmental projects of Higher Education Commission (HEC), including three special schemes exclusively launched by the government for the students of Balochistan. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad informed the House that communication links including telephone and mobile services are available in 159 cities of Balochistan. He pointed out that PTCL has 130 telephone exchanges operational in Balochistan.