Posted on September 6, 2023
The launch of Building Resilience of Coastal Ecological and Social Systems of Pakistan project, funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation took place on September 1, 2023 in Karachi. The inception event drew representation from the government line departments, coastal agencies, Pakistan Navy, as well as from civil society organizations and academia.
The main objective of the project is to enhance the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities within distinct coastal regions of Pakistan, specifically in Jiwani Coastal Wetland and Miani Lagoon in Balochistan and Indus delta in Sindh.
Giving his welcome remarks, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, emphasized the effectiveness of a collaborative approach, highlighting its potential for achieving sustainability. He also noted that this project presents a distinctive opportunity to mobilise resources within the country through collaborative efforts.
The collaboration between the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and IUCN Pakistan signifies a monumental step toward a more resilient and sustainable future for Pakistan’s coastal regions. This unprecedented initiative has the potential to transform the trajectory of conservation efforts in the country and protect its rich coastal ecosystems for generations to come.
Mr. Naveed Soomro, Project Manager – Building Resilience of Coastal Ecological and Social Systems of Pakistan, articulated the project’s vision, stated, “This 2.5-year project will contribute significantly to coastal governance in the region, building resilience among coastal communities, and restoring the degraded coastal ecosystem in Pakistan.”. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of conservation efforts, highlighting the fact that less than 1% of Pakistan’s coastline is currently designated as ‘protected.’ He underscored the necessity for a more coordinated and determined approach to safeguard marine and coastal resources.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Maeve Nightingale, Senior Programme Officer Coastal and Marine, IUCN Asia, emphasized the need for collaborative conservation, promoting Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) as crucial tools for engaging multiple stakeholders in the sustainable development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and marine and coastal ecosystems.
Mr. Khalid Pasha, Coordinator Regional Protected and Conserved Areas, IUCN Asia , introduced the use of IUCN best practice guidelines and standards, including the Global IUCN Green List Standard on Protected and Conserved Areas.
Dr. Badar Jamil Mandhro, Secretary of the Forest and Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh, commended IUCN’s longstanding commitment to coastal conservation in Pakistan. He noted that IUCN had been a significant partner with the Sindh Forest Department in mangrove conservation since 1985, having contributed to the plantation of over two million mangroves in the Indus Delta of Sindh.
He emphasized the extensive collaboration between IUCN Pakistan and the Sindh Forest Department in mangrove conservation, a partnership that has persisted since 1985 and has resulted in coastal ecosystem restoration in the Indus Delta of Sindh.
Mr. Noor Ahmed Birkani, Secretary, Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department, appreciated that the project is well positioned to address critical issues such as marine pollution, unsustainable fishing, climate change, and rising sea levels, being faced over the 770 km long coastline of Balochistan, terming it a positive step forward in the right direction.
Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, Inspector General Forests, Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, Government of Pakistan, emphasized the importance of the project’s small grants component in contributing to the planning and implementation of Marine Protected Areas, and which aligns with the 30% marine conservation target by 2030 under the newly adopted CBD biodiversity framework.
Mrs. Hélène Onoforo Sanaia, Projects Coordinator, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation expressed her support to the project. Her statement underscored the project’s importance and highlighted the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to its realization.
Mr. Danish Rashdi, Head of Karachi Programme Office, IUCN Pakistan, provided the audience with an overview of the development of IUCN’s coastal program, which was initiated approximately 35 years ago within Pakistan. He conveyed optimism that this project would play a pivotal role in stimulating resilience and enhancing the quality of life for coastal communities in Pakistan.