Islamabad - Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Monday, gave go-ahead for launch of “Protected Area Initiative”, which includes establishment of 12 national parks in the country with the aim to preserve and protect wildlife and plantations.

Talking to Advisor on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Khan, the Prime Minister said that the initiative was being taken under the umbrella of “Green Pakistan” program.The Prime Minister directed that all the provinces should be taken on-board for this initiative at the highest level.

He further emphasized that such initiatives provided employment opportunities which were crucial in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time protected natural resources of the country.

The Prime Minister will launch the “Protected Area Initiative” soon after Ministry of Climate Change completes the process of stakeholders' consultation.The meeting was in continuation of the “Green Stimulus” package approved by the Prime Minister recently in April, 2020, wherein 65,000 youth and daily wagers would be utilized for plantation across the country, who were unemployed due to the spread of coronavirus and ensuing lockdown.

On April 28, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the ‘Green Stimulus’ package as part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county and to create job opportunities for the youth.Meanwhile, an agreement was signed on Monday according to which the World Bank will provide 188 million US dollars to Pakistan to address environmental degradation, deforestation and climate change-caused disaster risks in the country.

Addressing on the occasion, Advisor to Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam said that the present government was taking all out measures for overall environmental protection through forest regeneration and biodiversity conservation programmes.He said Green Economic Stimulus supported the objective of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project, which was aimed at bolstering plantations, setting up of nurseries, natural forests, and promotion of honey, fruits and olive plantation in Pakistan.

World Bank's Country Director to Pakistan, Illango Patchamuthu expressed hope that this new initiative would take Pakistan's climate-resilience and disaster management capabilities to new height through furtherance of bilateral relations between government of Pakistan and the World Bank.