KARACHI: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan under its Sea Intrusion project celebrated the World Wetlands Day with the coastal communities at the Port Qasim area.
The theme for the year 2019 is wetlands and climate change. Teachers and students of the coastal community schools participated in a large number in this activity.
On this occasion Tahir Qureshi, IUCN Ecosystem Expert briefed the participants of the benefits of wetlands. He also highlighted the importance of mangroves as a food security providing sources of subsistence and livelihood for the most vulnerable communities as well as cultural practices and identity.
Qureshi further added that it was “heartening to see companies like Engro Foundation playing an active role in fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.”
IUCN has previously collaborated with Engro to plant 500 hectares of mangroves near the company’s LNG plant at Port Qasim. The current partnership with the Engro Foundation takes this initiative further.
The two-year project aims to involve local communities in the conservation and sustainable management of Pakistan’s precious mangrove forests by highlighting their direct link with fish yield.
An area of 500 hectares of mangrove forest will be maintained and cared for by the coastal communities in the project area, while training sessions and the establishment of environmental clubs will aid in sensitizing the community to the importance of these forests, as will the development and dissemination of outreach material in local languages.
Citing examples of previous projects, Qureshi noted that IUCN’s extensive work along the Sindh coast over the years has helped in preserving neglected ecosystems and native biodiversity, and enhancing coastal sustainability.
In his message on the World Wetlands Day, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said that there was an urgent need to adopt policies and effectively implement action plans which can help in conserving wetlands.
He noted that the Climate Change has impacted wetlands thus there was reduction in migratory birds, as they did not find friendly habitats. He said that flood management could play a very effective role in revitalizing these neglected wetlands.
He stressed on exploring the possibilities of funding from the private sector. Keeping in view the impact of Climate Change on wetlands, the resources can also be mobilized through Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the management of the wetlands and protection of the livelihoods of the people living in the spheres of these wetlands.
He appreciated the newly formed water pond close to village Gorano, in the Thar Coal Operational Area. The ecological uplifting of this artificially created wetland is going to attract more water birds, particularly the wintering migratory waterfowl.
It is a unique wetland of deep subsoil saline water pumped out in a desert in Pakistan.
Dr. Babar Hussain, Natural Resource Management Coordinator, Sea Intrusion project also spoke on this occasion and encouraged the youth for planting and protecting this precious source of oxygen and sanctuaries of fish, shrimps and crabs.