ISLAMABAD: Illegal logging is driving the trend of deforestation in the country, experts said on Thursday. “Hundreds of thousands of cases are pending in courts on illegal logging and not a single case has yet to conclude. We need to raise awareness among communities on forest resource conservation and especially young generation need to mobilize. This is the areas where media can play a crucial part through enhance reporting on the issue,” experts said while addressing the ‘Pre-COP Consultation on COP23 and REDD+ Implementation in Pakistan’ on Tuesday in Islamabad. The consultation was held as a collaborated effort by National REDD+ Office, Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Forests Inspector General Syed Mahmood Nasir said that it was time to take action on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation Plus (REDD+). “It is a new paradigm, new knowledge and new hope to mitigate global emissions and mitigating the drivers of deforestations. If implemented successfully and legally regulated, REDD+ programme will generate not only employment opportunities, but also ensure socio-economic benefits for the communities,” he said.“REDD+ is a well-thought out programme. There is need to put all our efforts and resources on the successful execution of it. Key to success is to involve all stakeholders, especially private forest owners and communities at all level of policy formulation and implementation process,” Nasir said. Speaking earlier, National REDD+ Coordinator Dr Ghulam Akber said: “Unfortunately, we don’t have national land use plan, which is also one of the major hurdles in conserving our national forest resources. There is need to tell and educate our communities on the climatic changes and need to take them into confidence on benefit associated with REDD+ mechanism to prevent from the threats of environmental changes.”Published in Daily Times, November 3rd 2017.