In 2014, the Pakistani government launched an initiative to plant a billion trees, playing its part in the worldwide forest landscape restoration targets of the Bonn Challenge. In 2017, the country achieved this goal ahead of schedule and so decided to ambitiously increase its first effort by tenfold, launching the five-year 10 Billion Tree Tsunami.
How will the country accomplish this, and do so in a way that the trees are not only planted but also survive to maturity? What lessons were learned from the first billion that will be applied this time around, and could inform other countries’ tree-growing efforts too?
In honor of the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and World Environment Day 2021, for which Pakistan is serving as host country, this GLF Live brought together two of the top experts on the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami – Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change, and Mark Halle, who established IUCN’s program in Pakistan in the 1980s and has helped establish the Tsunami’s financing mechanisms – to discuss the future of this program.
Malik Amin Aslam Khan currently serves as the Pakistani Minister of Climate Change, advisor to the Prime Minister, and the elected Global Vice President of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). He has previously chaired Pakistan’s flagship “Green Growth initiative,” which included the Billion Tree Tsunami initiative, and now serves as a key leader of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami. He has previously served as a Pakistani member of parliament as well as the country’s Minister of State for Environment, designing the country’s national policies on environment and climate change and working as Pakistan’s special envoy for reform of the UN governance system. He has chaired the G77+China negotiations group and led Pakistan’s climate change negotiations at various COP meetings since 1999. His background is in electrical engineering with a master’s from McGill University as well as from Oxford University, focusing on emissions trading in the context of climate change.
Mark Halle grew up in Geneva, took his first degree from Tufts University in the U.S. and a post-graduate degree in history from the University of Cambridge. Following two years with the Diplomatic Secretariat of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) he has devoted his entire career to environment and sustainable development, beginning with five years in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Policy Planning Division. He then spent four years in WWF-International’s Conservation Division, with responsibility for building its programs in China and as conservation advisor to HRH The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. There followed 14 years at IUCN, first in the Conservation for Development Centre (integrated into IUCN as the Field Operations Division), then as Director of Development and, finally, as Director of Policy and Partnerships. He left IUCN to establish the International Institute for Sustainable Development (Europe) which he directed until retirement in 2016 and where he remains a Senior Fellow. Mark was a Senior Advisor to the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System for the four years of its mandate, taking special responsibility for developing countries. Mark writes and lectures on the subject of sustainable development. He is founder of the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem, a platform for dialogue and cooperation about the challenge of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.