On October 14, 2010, the Pakistan Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the 'One UN', launched 24 environmental projects worth $1.2 million relating to solid waste management and sanitation, community-based natural resource management, and grass-roots climate change mitigation initiatives.
Mr. Khadim Hussain, Chief Executive GRACE Association received the project award from the Federal Minister for the Environment, Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi. Each of the awards to the successful NGOs will be used to fund innovative community-based projects under the Grass Roots Initiative Program (GRIP), a joint effort of the Ministry of Environment and United Nations to overcome environmental challenges. GRIP's aims are to develop an inclusive common platform of key partners to connect policies, programmes and projects and actions by government, aid agencies, NGOs, UN agencies and the private sector into an agreed sustainable development framework.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Federal Minister of Environment, Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, said that the increasing rate of environment degradation around the globe has contributed to the unprecedented floods recently experienced in Pakistan, causing destruction and hardship on a massive scale. Further, the Minister stressed that the results of increasing environmental degradation would not stop, but that the country would suffer further with food insecurity, displacement of communities, and economic deprivation. Therefore, Afridi said that there is a need for grass-root environmental actions that could substantially contribute to the improvement of the environment, the most important dividends of which would be poverty reduction, employment generation and livelihood improvement.
In his address, the UNDP Country Director, Toshihiro Tanaka, said that the UN was committed to support government and civil society with projects aimed at improving the lot of vulnerable segments of the society - especially women. He said the programmes would give local communities a voice in policy making on issues that affect them. The GRACE project is expected to result in further community mobilization, institutional strengthening for sustainable management of natural resources and climate change mitigation (CCM). It is envisioned that the community based model of CCM will be set up by promoting solar water harvesting, water conservation, and agro forestry techniques. In addition the project will promote non-timber forest product based enterprises (NTFP) and other appropriate energy efficient technologies relating to CCM.
The primary beneficiaries of our project are the target village communities in district Skardu. Women are expected to be the major beneficiaries, as they will play a vital role in the sustainable use of natural resources. The GRACE team also believes that the benefits of this project will have spillover effects on the neighboring villages that will be influenced and encouraged to replicate this model. Overall the line departments, visitors to project areas, policy makers, researchers, other users of environmental information and the private sector will benefit from the implementation of this project.
GRACE endeavours to empower and improve the quality of life of the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the least developed parts of Pakistan through welfare, participatory research and development, capacity building, promotion of best practices and partnership building, advocacy, and by launching sustainable and replicable innovative projects.