ISLAMABAD: Meeting stresses need for effective mechanism to stop deforestation Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan said on Tuesday that forests were precious natural resources of the country.“It is our national duty to stop ruthless cutting of trees. The government needs to act now and take all the possible measures to ensure future safe environment for future generations,” he said. The federal minister expressed these views while speaking at the closing session of two- day’s consultative meeting of National Working Groups on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The event had been organised by REDD+ Office, Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) Pakistan in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).Khan said that REDD+ was a long term evolutionary process that required a long term planning. “However, it has been put in place and this new mechanism is now expected to not only improve forest monitoring, but also incentivise the forest owners and forest communities to reduce pressure on our precious natural forests. The existing legal framework will also be strengthened to stop deforestation,” he said. While emphasising on the importance of awareness raising regarding REDD+ mechanism, especially on how its crucial to preserve our forests, he said that the media and political leadership had a vital role to play in this regard. “Therefore, these key stakeholders should be enabled to play their much needed role in the promotion of this concept of REDD+ in the larger interest of people and forests and hence, the entire nation,” he said.Earlier, Syed Nasir Shah, Inspector General Forests, MoCC, presented an overall picture of the existing state of forestry in Pakistan. He also highlighted various dimensions of the work and scope of REDD+ and the future strategies.The consultative meeting on REDD+ was attended by international as well as national experts on forestry and REDD+ mechanisms. Besides others, the experts from Mexico, Finland, Nepal and England as well as the senior technical officers from respective provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan Forests secretary, the Punjab Forest Department additional secretary and Balochistan minister of forests participated in the extensive deliberations.The experts appreciated the fact that Pakistan for the very first time was all set to finalise its national forest definition and national standards and methodology for regular national forest monitoring.The experts said that these standards would enable Pakistan to meet technical requirements that countries needed to develop under the decisions of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to assess its future performance of forest carbon emission reductions and to get access to REDD+ results based payments from international windows.The experts on the occasion also urged that there was a dire need to include women in the consultation process besides raising awareness among students. The inclusion of REDD+ in the syllabus will be a key step to achieve this critical objective, they said. Published in Daily Times, August 9th 2017.