Byline: Jamal Shahid
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is beset with serious environmental conservation and climate change challenges that pose risks to efforts to achieve socioeconomic and poverty reduction goals, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday.
Inaugurating the seventh International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Asia Regional Conservation Forum, Mr Khan emphasised the need to pursue the development of effective policies geared towards conserving natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity.
He said these policies would build the foundation for economic productivity and improved livelihoods, and are key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Asia.
More than 500 participants, including around 170 from Asian countries, will be attending the forum, which is being co-hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change.
Seventh IUCN Asia Regional Conservation Forum inaugurated with focus on nature-based solutions to societal challenges
Mr Khan said that protecting the environment was one of his priorities when he began his term as prime minister.
'With the active participation of youth in the country, the implementation of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project has become a gigantic step towards restoring and protecting the country's natural resources,' he said.
Delegates from governments, NGOs, research and academic institutions and the private sector from 24 countries in south, east and southeast Asia and other parts of the world are participating in the event, which takes place every four years.
Prime Minister's Advisor on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that Asia accounted for 60pc. It also has the highest growth rate today and is home to nearly half of the world's poorest people, rendering poverty a key issue to be addressed.
He quoted the World Bank's 2018 report, which said that of the 783 million extremely poor who live below poverty line, 33pc live in South Asia and 9pc in East Asia and the Pacific.
'Most countries are likely to reach middle-income...