A funding of $120 million has been approved by the World Bank for Prime Minister’s Green Stimulus Initiative and it can be utilised by Pakistan to boost green jobs for workers who have been laid off due to Covid-19, said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine.

Talking to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Thursday, he recommended the government to engage unemployed people in the country’s green projects, which were being implemented for conservation and protection of the nature.

“World Bank is highly impressed with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Clean Green Pakistan programme and various other ecofriendly projects initiated under his vision, particularly the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP), which is one of the world’s largest,” he said.

“We at the World Bank are mulling over replicating Pakistan’s green initiatives in other countries in different parts of the world.”

Benhassine voiced hope that government’s efforts would help boost Pakistan’s resilience against adverse impact of climate change on health, education, water, energy, agriculture and food security.

“It is inspiring that despite limited financial resources, Pakistan launched the Green Stimulus Initiative, which created thousands of green jobs,” the World Bank official remarked.

He said that his organisation would utilise financial, technological and knowledge resources to support Pakistan through its expertise and experiences in the overall post-Covid green recovery.

He continued that the World Bank would enhance investment in green sectors including forestry, environmental protection and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate vulnerable socioeconomic areas.

Explaining the Green Stimulus Initiative to the World Bank official, Aslam said that it was launched in April 2020 after Covid-19 hit the country and it was aimed at creation of green jobs for the youth that was laid off due to the closure of business and assorted economic activities.

So far, the initiative has led to the generation of 87,000 environment-friendly jobs for the youth, Aslam revealed. Highlighting other similar schemes, he said that an ambitious programme called the Protected Areas Initiative (PAI) had been initiated by the climate change ministry, which was aimed at conservation and promotion of nature-based solutions and creation of 5,000 more green jobs.

“This project will help enhance country’s protected area from 13% to 15% by 2023,” Aslam said.

Both sides vowed to collaborate in combating the aftermath of the global health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and global warming in various socioeconomic sectors.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2021.

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