ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change has set the target to increase forest cover of the country from the existing 5.01 percent to 12 percent aims at effectively tackling the confronted challenges of global warming and environmental related issues.

Accordingly, the ministry has planted as many as 18 million saplings across the country till date under the Green Pakistan Programme (GPP).

He said that the samplings had been planted along the roads, canals and various designated of the country under the GPP. The Green Pakistan Programme was launched last year February 9 to plant 100 million samplings across the country with the cost of Rs 4.7 billion in the five years.

Under the United Nations charter there must be 12 percent forest cover of the total area of the country, but unfortunately the country has only 5 percent said an official of the ministry of climate change while taking to APP on Wednesday.

He said the main objective of the GPP was to facilitate transition towards environmentally resilient Pakistan by mainstreaming notions of adoption and mitigation through ecologically targeted initiatives covering afforestation, biodiversity conservation and enabling policy environment.

Sharing figure of sapling plantation during 2011 to 2016 he said, about 707 million saplings had been planted in four provinces including Azad Jammu Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Responding to a question, he said that public awareness is the key to achieve the goal of the sustainable and clean environment.

He said the present government is aware of the pressing environmental and climate change issue and has taken various policy measures to address them in collaboration with civil society organizations.