IUCN launches Assessment of State of Nature ,Biodiversity Safeguarding Actions in Northern Pakistan

GILGIT:International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan Tuesday formally launched its project titled “Assessment of the State of Nature and Biodiversity Safeguarding Actions in Northern Pakistan”.

The project was initiated in collaboration with the line departments, private sector and local communities at Forest Complex, Gilgit-Baltistan Forest, Wildlife and Environment Department (GBFWED) here.

Secretary Forest, Wildlife and Environment, GB Shahid Zaman had graced the occasion as chief guest, a press release said.

Country Representative IUCN Pakistan Mahmood Akthar Cheema in his welcome address said that IUCN was a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organizations.

“It provides public, private and non-governmental organizations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together,” he added.

Cheema emphasized on integrated efforts for the conservation and management of fragile natural resources of the area.

Secretary Forest GB appreciated IUCN Pakistan for launching the timely needed project, especially in the wake of emerging infrastructural development and mass tourism in the area.

He assured IUCN Pakistan full support from his department and suggested a coordination committee at Gilgit-Baltistan level to enhance collaboration and built on what had been discussed during the stakeholder consultation meetings and project inception workshop.

IUCN, Senior Biodiversity Expert, Javed Ahmed Chaudhary presented an overview of the outcomes of stakeholders’ consultation meetings and discussed in detail the project implementation and action plan.

He emphasized on addressing the issues faced by trophy hunting programme and urged the department to collaborate with IUCN for taking it to the next level where the focus should be on community managed conservation and the programme should be conservation centric.

Deputy Director Biodiversity, Ministry of Climate Change Dr Rizwan Irshad highlighted the importance of such initiative that was designed in collaboration by IUCN and MoCC.

He also emphasized on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Law at this occasion as an important obligation of the Government of Pakistan.

Chief Conservator Forest, GB Dr Zakir Hussain highlighted the efforts of IUCN Pakistan on which the department had built on their conservation programme. The Northern Areas Conservation Strategy developed by IUCN was still used as a reference, he added.

He said that the department needs technical expertise of IUCN to further improve and bring non-functional protected areas into conservation regime.