Diplomats cycle through Islamabad to raise climate change awareness

Bike ride Pakistan
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs organises a bike ride and other activities under the theme of “Pedal for a Green Future” in Islamabad. Image Credit: MoFA

Islamabad: Pakistani officials, diplomats and Islamabad citizens took part in a bike ride in the capital city to help raise environmental awareness and support the‘ Clean and Green Pakistan’ initiative.

The bike ride and other activities held under the theme of “Pedal for a Green Future” was organised by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Urban Innovation.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and members of the diplomatic corps and UN agencies, along with Foreign Ministry officials, cycled from D-Chowk Constitution Avenue to the Foreign Office building in Islamabad on Monday. “The aim of the event was to encourage and promote the use of bicycles for the reduction of carbon footprint, noise pollution and vehicular emission” the Foreign Office said.

Pedal for a green future

Dozens of diplomats and local cyclists wearing white ‘World Environment Day’ T-shirts and caps used the hashtag #PedalForAGreenPakistan on social media to raise awareness on sustainable development and eco-friendly modes of transport.

Diplomats Pakistan bike ride
Dozens of diplomats in Pakistan and their families joined the bike ride in Islamabad organized by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help raise awareness on climate change. Image Credit: MoFA

Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said that she “had great fun cycling” with FM Qureshi and fellow diplomats and cycling lovers as part of the ‘Pedal for a GreenPakistan event. “Cycling is good for your health and good for the environment. We all need to protect the planet,” she said in a tweet.

Ambassador of Denmark Lis Rosenholm termed it a “great initiative” by Pakistan foreign office to “promote active mobility and sustainable cities” and raise awareness about climate change. Sharing his photos from the bike ride, Netherlands Ambassador Wouter Plomp said: “I’m proud of my vintage‪Sohrab bike made in Pakistan and ideal for ‪bike to work.”

The event also featured a musical performance and documentaries showcasing Pakistan’s rich bio-diversity, flora and fauna, and key initiatives to combat climate change and restore the ecosystem.

Pakistan to host World Environment Day 2021

On June 5, Pakistan will host World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which the foreign minister said was an “acknowledgement of our strong credentials in combating environmental degradation and climate change.” This year’s Environment Day theme – “Ecosystem Restoration” – was in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Green Vision”, he added.

Qureshi also outlined the significant green initiatives taken by the government under the “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative including the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, new electric vehicle policy, green jobs initiative that demonstrated Pakistan’s commitment to combatting climate crisis, protecting biological diversity, and promoting ecosystem restoration.

Qureshi also urged the nations to develop a global partnership to deal with the challenge of climate change. He also underscored Pakistan’s active role in international climate diplomacy and active participation in Paris Agreement.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, PM’s special aide on climate change Malik Amin Aslam, Environment Minister Zartaj Gul and UNDP Country Director Knut Ostby also urged to create public and political awareness of the climate crisis. They focused on making “peace with nature.”

PM Imran Khan has announced plans to expand the country’s forests by planting 10 billion trees over 5 years. Pakistan government “is fully committed to addressing the issue of climate change” including through the 10 billion tree initiative to restore and enhance over one million hectares of forest by 2023, said Amin Aslam.

Khan has vowed that by 2030 Pakistan would produce 60 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources. Nearly 30 per cent electric of the vehicles on the road would be electric in the next 10 years as part of the country’s transformation to an emission-free future.