By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan launched on Sunday a nationwide spring tree plantation drive for the revival and restoration of forests in the country.
Pakistan's premier Imran Khan kicked off the drive by planting a sapling in his hometown district of Mianwali in the northeastern Punjab province.
"Pakistan is among the countries most affected by climate change... we need to protect it through the plantation of trees across the country," Khan said while addressing the event held as part of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.
The ambitious project is an extension of the Billion Tree Tsunami which was launched in 2014 in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which restored 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land.
He urged the country's youth to play their role in making the plantation drive a success.
While the current initiative targets planting 250 million saplings in spring 2020, the mega 10 billion tree scheme is expected to create 1.5 million jobs in the next four years, according to Pakistan's Ministry of Climate Change.
The Global Climate Risk Index ranked Pakistan as the 5th most-affected country between 1999 and 2018 in its annual report for 2020.
On Feb. 16, United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres, who was on a four-day visit to the South Asian country, praised Pakistan's tree plantation project, urging the international community to fulfill their commitments to counter climate change.
"Like all developing countries, Pakistan has contributed little to the problem but is facing a major impact from climate changes," the UN chief told an event in the capital Islamabad.
The Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries in April 2016, aims to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions and limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.