As well as benefiting the environment, the project has established a network of private tree nurseries, which have boosted local incomes and generated green jobs, including for unemployed young people and women in the province. It also meant the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government surpassed its 348,400 hectare commitment to the Bonn Challenge.
This aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land worldwide by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. It was the first Bonn Challenge pledge to reach its restoration goal. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province surpassed its commitment to a global goal to restore 150 million hectares of deforested land by 2020.
Andersen, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the NGO in charge of administering the Bonn Challenge, described it as “a true conservation success story”. However, the Billion Tree Tsunami has attracted criticism as well as praise within Pakistan, and an official inquiry into allegations of corruption has been launched.
Experts at World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, which monitored and conducted an independent audit of the reforestation drive, say the project has been an environmental, economic and social success, VOA news reported. Its popularity has prompted Pakistan’s federal government to launch its own Green Pakistan programme, which aims to plant 100 million trees in five years across the country.