The national government of Pakistan has expanded an innovative scheme aiming to reforest the nation to provide work for those unemployed as a result of the coronavirus.
The government has created more than 63,000 positions for unemployed laborers by relaunching an ambitious national tree-planting scheme that had been brought to a grinding halt by the pandemic. The 10 Billion Tree Tsunami campaign, launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2018, has been restarted with paid work being provided to thousands of agricultural workers facing unemployment as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
Laborers follow social distancing guidelines and wear face masks while undertaking tasks, but the work allows them living wages planting saplings and protecting the trees from fires and illegal logging. Much of the work involved in the government program is being undertaken in rural, low-income areas that have been hard hit by the pandemic.
The project is essentially acting as a green stimulus plan for the nation, with local police and district authorities advised that trucks carrying trees should be allowed to travel and villagers permitted to leave their homes to work with the project. The government plans to expand the project to provide further employment once restrictions ease further.
“This tragic crisis provided an opportunity and we grabbed it,” Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to the prime minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
“Nurturing nature has come to the economic rescue of thousands of people.”
The 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project is a five-year, country-wide tree planting drive aiming to establish ten billion trees by 2023. The project is part of the nation’s efforts to address climate change.
- For more information on the 10 Billion Tree project, check out this great resource from UNDP Ecosystems & Biodiversity.
- To get involved in tree planting efforts closer to home, find out what we have planned for National Tree Day 2020.
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