What is the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project?

What is the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project?

Every year the world loses 10 million hectares of forest, an area twice the size of Costa Rica.

As Pakistan hosted World Environment Day on 5 June 2021, the country led the way with its Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project.

What is the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project?

This ambitious project, supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), aims to plant ten billion trees by 2023.

It was launched in 2019, and one billion trees have already been planted!

The first phase aims to plant 3.25 billion trees in the country, at an estimated cost of about 105 billion Pakistani rupees (about 554 million euros).

The program also aims to preserve mangroves (an ecosystem of trees along the coastline), reforest cities and create more than 5,500 “green” jobs.

This reforestation project is similar to the Billion Tree Tsunami launched in 2014 by the previous government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which aimed to plant 1 billion trees throughout the country.

Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change

Severe water shortages, droughts, floods, loss of forests… Pakistan is experiencing the full range of consequences of global warming and ranks among the top five countries most affected by these upheavals.

This is because only five percent of the country is covered by forests, compared to a global average of 31 percent.

Pakistan is directly affected by the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, which is causing severe water shortages in much of the country, as well as the gradual disappearance of riparian forests.

The country is particularly vulnerable to increased monsoon variability, retreating Himalayan glaciers and extreme events such as floods and droughts.  The impact of these phenomena will result in increased food and water insecurity.

It is the fifth most populous country in the world, putting increasing pressure on the environment.

Pakistan’s population

70% of its population lives in rural areas, with 24-40% below the poverty line. At the same time, the government’s capacity to provide basic services and respect for human rights is being outstripped by the growth of the country’s major urban centres.

The evidence suggests that the gap between rich and poor is widening, while a complex set of structural, community and family factors keep millions of people, especially women, in extreme poverty. The conflict in Pakistan is adding to the instability of the country.

The country’s poverty makes it more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Source: OXFAM / UNEP.