UK to assist Pakistan for valuing natural resources into policy making

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ISLAMABAD, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Thursday said the earth’s natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, which collectively make up our planet’s core natural capital, is now at risk of fast depletion because of over-exploitation of the resources.

 

“However, sustainable use of the natural capital, which actually provides the foundation for sustainability of the life on earth and overall socioeconomic development of current and future generations, is vital to its sustainability for generating ecosystem services for the lasting human well-being,” he said while addressing a high-level meeting regarding signing of ‘Letter of Support on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA)’ between the British High Commission Islamabad, UK Statistics Authority and the Ministry of Climate Change held here.

 

The Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide Malik Amin Aslam and the British High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr Christian Turner also witnessed the signing ceremony.

 

Both sides pledged to work together to introduce the concept of the natural capital accounting system and its implementation for conservation and protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems.

 

Malik said that provisioning services are outputs of ecosystem services which include food, fuel and water. Besides, cultural and aesthetic services are the recreation, tourism and spiritual benefits humans derive from natural spaces.

 

Finally, supporting services enable the functioning of all ecosystem services and include habitat and genetic diversity.

 

Thus, regulating services through their accounting and efficient use helps make the planet livable for humans and include carbon sequestration of forests and the moderation of extreme events such as the role of mangroves in flood and storm surge mitigation, he added.

 

“All of these services that nature provides, which we often take for granted, are in various stages of degradation and they continue to be at risk of fast depleting,” he cautioned.

 

The PM’s aide highlighted the persistent invisibility of natural capital has resulted, by large, from the reality that ecosystems services and biodiversity benefits have historically not been quantified according to dollar values and it can be extremely challenging to value these benefits in such terms.

 

As a result, natural capital is often undervalued or neglected in decision-making, which contributes to more biodiversity loss, and ultimately impacts human well-being. For example, infrastructure and road development projects have historically been carried out with little to no attention to the short- or long-term impacts of these activities on natural ecosystems and biodiversity, he added.

 

“Therefore, to ensure long-term human well-being, decision-makers across all economic sectors, such as transportation, agriculture, and energy, the world must recognise importance of the interconnectedness between economic activities and ecosystems as highlighted in global strategies and goals for development and biodiversity.

 

These include the Sustainable Development Goals, which are currently being elaborated, and the Aichi Targets,” said.

 

Malik Amin Aslam, however, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan-led incumbent government is very much aware that the accounting of natural capital is of unprecedented significance as far as achieving the sustainable management of natural resources in context of their contribution to socioeconomic development and its implications is concerned.

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