ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Climate Change has sent a final draft of the National Forest Policy to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) for approval in its next meeting.

“The policy, hammered out in strenuous and elaborate consultation with provincial Forest and Wildlife Departments and other relevant Federal

governmental departments and forest officials of the Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Azad Jammu & Kashmir regions and non-governmental organisations, will be implemented to conserve existing forests, bring more trees through community participation and meet international obligations related to forests,” a senior official of the Ministry told APP.

The official said that Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in March 2015 had directed to formulate a National Forest Policy.

In compliance with this directive, a draft of the policy had been prepared, he said and added, “It has been ensured while formulating the forest policy draft that it did not infringe upon provincial autonomy and is supportive of provincial forest policies and programmes in fulfilling the obligations of the Federal govt under the international treaties related to forests to which Pakistan is a party.”

He said that most of the guidelines and measures contained in this policy would be applicable to Federal govt within its Constitutional mandate.

This policy, the official said, would provide a legal ground for the Federal govt to arrange and extend support to all provinces and regions towards achieving their respective targets and meeting international obligations by improving their capacity and financial gaps.

To a question, he said that the objective of the policy was to promote ecological, social and cultural functions of forests through sustainable management.