Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman says climate change and environment conservation require public awareness and community engagement.

She was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the project "Restoration of Riverine, Inland, Dry-land and Urban Ecosystems of Sindh" in Karachi on Saturday.

Initiated with the cooperation of the World Bank, the project’s objectives include the conservation of existing forest cover and plantation of barren wastelands available with the Sindh Forest Department.

The Minister said Pakistan is gradually losing its forest cover due to excessive deforestation and degradation activities mainly due to poverty, urban sprawl, and lack of fiscal space for strong policy initiatives in protecting forests.

Discussing the current water stress being faced by the country, Sherry Rehman remarked that Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage, and inland water ecosystems are imperative for our water requirements and need to be conserved.

This project’s pivotal focus on the conservation of wetlands will prove to be a timely measure.

Appreciating the efforts of the Sindh Forest Department on reviving mangrove forests, she said the flood plains covered by mangroves have increased from 10 to 13 percent.

The PDF project will prove instrumental in maintaining the existing forest cover and will help rehabilitate riverine, dry-lands, and mangrove forests in Sindh.