PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forestry, Environment and Wildlife said the province recorded an increase of 846.5 square kilometers in the area covered by forests in the province from 2007 to 2018 due to government initiatives.

Official documents available from Dawn showed that the department, in collaboration with the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), conducted a study regarding the “quantification and documentation of temporal changes in forest cover in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the period from 2007 to 2012 to 2015. to 2017-2018 through a remote sensing solution and it showed an increase of 846.5 square kilometers in the forest covered area of ​​the province.

They revealed that “the growth resulted in a 1.14% increase in forest cover from 2007 to 2017-2018 due to government initiatives”.

The Pakistani government Tehreek-i-Insaf had launched its flagship Billion Tree Tsunami project in the province in 2014, under which officials said more than a billion saplings had been planted by 2018.

Department mulls tapping climate finance, documents show

Official documents available from Dawn indicate that the government must redouble its efforts to improve the health of forest ecosystems by reducing deforestation and forest degradation and improving forest biomass while ensuring the conservation, restoration and replanting of forests. forests.

“This means continued funding from the provincial budget and only the KP REDD+ action plan, over the next 10 years, requires Rs 2.140 billion,” a document says.

The document says the ministry is considering a proposal to tap into domestic and transnational climate finance – drawn from public, private and alternative funding sources – that aims to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will help tackle climate change. climate change.

He added that the goal of the plan was to harness sustainable funding for the conservation, restoration and replanting of forests in the province.

The document states that given the successes of massive reforestation under Billion Tree and now the 10 Billion Tree project (and the continued addition to that number), the increase in protected areas/national parks from 10 to over 15.6 % (Wildlife Value of Species) and other initiatives, the ministry was confident to exploit the potential of the carbon market.

According to the document, one of the unexplored avenues was the sale of “carbon offsets” or the acquisition of “carbon credits”.

“There are two types of credits; first, voluntary emission reduction, which is a carbon offset that is exchanged on an over-the-counter or voluntary market for credits, and second, certified emission reduction: emission units (or credits) created through a regulatory framework in the purpose of offsetting emissions,” he said.

The paper says the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) has enabled private investors and NGOs to voluntarily purchase carbon offsets to offset their emissions, mostly from large corporations, who could not otherwise add to their reduction books. emissions and “purchase” carbon offsets to “enhance” their stock in this account.

He added that for the sake of clarity, a carbon offset usually refers to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – or an increase in carbon storage (for example through land restoration or tree planting) – which was used to offset emissions. that occur elsewhere.

“A carbon offset credit is a transferable instrument certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction of one metric ton of CO2, or an equivalent amount of other GHGs,” the document states.

Posted in Dawn, April 16, 2022