Islamabad: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), Pakistan and the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan announced a $4.2 million project to plant 50 million trees across the region to reduce climate change and protect against natural disasters.
Pakistan ranks among the top ten countries affected by climate-induced disasters in the last two decades. Within Pakistan, mountain areas such as Gilgit Baltistan, are acutely vulnerable to natural disasters including flash floods, mudflows, landslides and glacial lake outburst floods. The project, , will use tree plantation to absorb carbon and stabilize soil and slopes in hazard prone areas, mitigating climate change and disaster risk. The Government of Gilgit Baltistan will contribute $4.2 million to the four-year project, leveraged by a $537,000 grant from the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment.
The Forest, Wildlife and Environment Department of the Government of Gilgit Baltistan will plant 50 million trees on 300 sites, with technical support from AKAH. AKAH will use its hazard, vulnerability, risk assessment methodology to identify hazard-prone and steep-slope sites, which could benefit from plantation for stabilization, particularly along roads and critical infrastructure. Drawing on its expertise in building water supply systems for hundreds of settlements across the region, AKAH will provide technical support to build or expand the water supply infrastructure and solar-powered pumps to provide water for the plantations.
Speaking of the partnership , Mr. Shahid Zaman, Secretary Forest and Wildlife, said that “ we are grateful to AKAH, who have joined us to provide technical support for the implementation of this very important project which has a global significance around climate change mitigation. The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan admires the work that the AKDN has done for development in the area. AKAH Pakistan’s initiatives to provide safe water, build resilient infrastructure, and increase communities’ disaster risk preparedness and response in the face of climate change has brought about much change already. Through this partnership we expect a big impact in the future.”
Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan shared that, “AKAH, P is excited to partner with the forest department on this project particularly as it directly contributes to the AKDN’s Climate Change Strategy and to Government’s vision of a green and clean Pakistan”.
This initiative builds on the broader work and expertise of AKAH and the Aga Khan Development Network in promoting sustainable development in the region. Sharing his views, Mr. Hafiz Sher Ali, President Aga Khan Council for Pakistan, said that “I am pleased to see AKAH’s continued collaboration with the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan in many areas of development in the region. AKDN has a long history of collaboration with the Government of Pakistan to support its efforts in diverse sectors of development with the aim of improving the quality of life of the people of Pakistan.”