Maiden Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was presided by Senator Seemee Ezdi, Chairperson Committee at the Parliament house today.
The Committee took up the public petition referred by the hon’ble Chairman Senate affecting the officials of Forest Department of Punjab under the PEEDA Act, 2006. The petitioner informed the Committee that under the existing provisions, forest guards were held responsible for forest damage and faced dire financial consequences. Representative from the Provincial Forest department apprised the Committee that the Forest Act, 1927 has been amended and will be placed before the Cabinet for approval. Moreover, he also informed the Committee that Punjab Forest Protection Rules, 2021 were also being finalized and Forest Manuals are also being revised to ensure protection of the rights of all stakeholders. The Committee after deliberations with the Minister for Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul directed that the Secretary, Federal Ministry of Climate Change, Secretary Forest Department Punjab and the petitioner to hold a meeting to resolve the matter.
The Officials from Ministry of Climate Change briefed the Committee about its working. The apprised the members about various initiatives including ten billion tree tsunami, Astola Island, Migratory Birds and Houbara Bustard Endowment Fund and Clean Green Cities Index taken by the Ministry. The also briefed the Committee on the various international conventions ratified by Pakistan.
The Committee expressed its extreme displeasure at the absence of Chairman CDA while discussing the issue of recent fire and littering in the Margalla Hills. The representatives from Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and the Member CDA informed the Committee about the frequency of fire incidents. The Committee expressed concern over the increased frequency of fire incidents and recommended that both CDA and IWMB must work together for smooth functioning and prevention of such incidents in future. Mr. Ali Nawaz Awan, MNA and Special assistant to the Prime Minister on CDA Affairs highlighted the need to take the local community on board and ensure their participation in prevention of such incidents.
The Committee also discussed the usage of Euro 2 fuel and its harmful impact on the environment. The members of the Committee also expressed their concern on the docking of ship carrying hazardous material in Gadani.
Senators Faisal Javed, Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, Khalida Ateeb, Keshoo Bai, Sherry Rehman, Taj Haider, Kamran Michael, Abida Muhammad Azeem also attended the meeting.