Green Pakistan Project (GPP) awaits third-party validation

ISLAMABAD: The government still has not gotten the progress of the Green Pakistan Project validated by a third party for an independent perspective on the environment programme.  On January 8, the Green Pakistan Project (GPP) National Project Director (NPD) Ibrahim Khan had notified a committee which was supposed to select a consulting firm until the completion of activity thirdparty validation, documentation and dissemination of GPP activities and best-practices for the programme. The committee was chaired by Ibrahim himself, while other members of the committee include Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) Deputy Inspector General of Forest-1 and GPP deputy project director.

The committee was supposed to select a consulting firm to assess the progress of GPP over its objectives and intended impact from an independent perspective.  “The notification of such a self-formed body raises many questions on how will the committee ensure neutrality and impartiality in selection of a third party which will evaluate the NPD and his team’s progress with respect to GPP and ensure transparency and enhance the effectiveness of the programme,” a ministry official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

The official added that it was the mandate of the MoCC’s development wing to evaluate such committees and to ensure transparency, enhancing the effectiveness of development projects with a demonstration of tangible results by stakeholders of such projects. Another official in MoCC said that third-party validation is usually carried out during the gestation period of any project. The GPP had been launched by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on February 9, 2017, with the aim of reinvigorating the country’s ailing forestry sector through a project to plant 100 million trees across the country and to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats for the revival of the country’s biodiversity.

In the 2015-16 budget, the government had allocated a billion rupees for the programme. But the funds remain unutilized since its project concept awaited approval from the Planning Commission, Council of Common Interest (CCI) and the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council ECNEC. However, on January 25, 2017, the ECNEC approved the Rs3.652.142 billion programme.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League=Nawaz (PML-N), though, has been grappling with an increasing demand and pressure for improving structures and to reform public management by ensuring transparency in the disbursement of public funds. The MoCC had announced plans to gauge progress made by the programme through a third party validation (TPV) firm to find operational or execution flaws as the programme nears its first anniversary. While millions of rupees have been disbursed amongst stakeholders under the programme, the ministry had yet to contract the validation company.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2018.

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