Forests help cut risk of disasters: UNDP

ISLAMABAD - The theme of World Environment Day 2011 Forests: Nature at Your Service reminds us of the critical importance of forest ecosystems in our lives, including providing a source of livelihood, reducing the risks from natural disasters, refuge for many species and clean water and air for all. Deforestation and forest degradation account for green house gases emissions that can be avoided if the forests are managed substantially and protected from degradation. This was stated by Timo Pakkala, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, while addressing as chief guest in a ceremony organized by Ministry of Environment on the World Environment Day here Sunday to mark World Environment Day. He said that forests not only act as a barrier from cyclones and sea storms but these are also essential habitat for the exportable shrimps and fish stocks contributing towards national economy, Timo added. Collective efforts are need of time to save this earth for the better future of this world, he added. Representative of UNDP said that UN will continue its collaboration and coordination with the Ministry of Environment. Timo Pakkala also red the message of Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations, Secretary General, for this year World Environment Day that Nearly 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit, the world is once again on the road to Rio - the site of the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Earlier, Abid Mehmood, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Environment said Pakistan is committed to increase forest cover from exising 5.2 per cent to 6 per cent till 2015 and the Ministry of Environment is taking a number of initiatives in this regard. On this occasion, Asmat Ullah of Ministry of Environment red the Message of the Federal Minister for Environment Samina Khalid Ghurki that This year World Environment Days Theme, Forests: Nature at Your Service, underscores the variety of life sustaining services that forests provide and calls us all to take action to protect these resources and move twards a greener economy. On the occasion Dr Shahzad Jehangir, DIG (Forest) gave detailed presentation on the Forestry Sector. Moreover, Dr Ejaz Ahmad of World Wide Fund-Pakistan, also gave presentation on the subject. Mehmood Akhter Cheema, Head IUCN, Islamabad, also delivered the address on the occasion and briefed about a video on Impact of Climate Change prepared in collaboration of IUCN and PTV. Launcing ceremony of that video was also held in the ceremony. Representatives of UN, Officials of Ministry of Environment, people from different walks of life and mediamen were present on this occasion.

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