Wetlands Disappearing in Pakistan due to lack of Legislation
ISLAMABAD: IUCN Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, and Fatimah Jinnah Women University celebrated the World Wetlands Day at the IUCN Islamabad Programme Office on February 02, 2016. The theme of the year 2016 is “Wetlands for Future: Sustainable Livelihoods”. Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Member National Assembly was the Chief Guest of the event.
Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb talked of the Pakistan Wetlands Programme that has been implemented successfully leaving a number of benchmarks and appreciated the participation and interest of youth on wetlands and associated issues. She suggested that the Wetlands policy debate is taken up in the parliament for approval. She also emphasized on the role of the International Partners by taking the national priorities ahead of the global priorities and the parliamentary plans should also be developed according to the national priorities. She said that restoration and conservation of the wetlands is a huge task, therefore, government cannot carry it forward on their own. She invited the civil society and other stakeholders to come forward for this cause. She was of the view that the country needs well a thought and long-term approach instead of short term projects and programmes.
She highlighted that lack of awareness at the district management level or the implementation level is the main hindrance in taking proper actions. She suggested multi-dimensional approach at the government, national and provincial levels to engage the private sector by creating demand.
While appreciating the initiatives of Fatima Jinnah Women University and encouraging youth, she also thanked the MoCC, IUCN and FJWU for organizing this event.
The participants included representatives from Ministry of Climate Change, civil society, academia, international partners including UN, ADB, EU, AKF, students of Fatimah Jinnah Women University, IUCN.
Ms. Fauzia Malik, Manager IUCN Islamabad Programme welcomed the participants and emphasized on the importance of wetlands day celebration. The students of Fatimah Jinnah Women University presented their learning and research on wetlands in Pakistan. Dr. Abdul Majeed Water and Energy Expert of IUCN made a presentation on IUCN’s work on wetlands over the years and state of wetlands in Pakistan.
Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forest, Ministry of Climate Change lamented on disappearing off the wetlands in Pakistan due to lack of legislation on wetlands. He shared that the Pakistan Forest Policy that is under review which includes wetlands management policy as well; however this is yet to be approved. If it is approved, it may also be adopted by provinces as well. He elaborated that in the absence of any legislation regarding wetlands, multiple authorities are misusing the wetlands; where no authority is responsible for their management.
He said that reduction of the dragonflies is the common indicator that wetlands either lack fresh water or they are polluted. The dragonflies use to be in large numbers when there was an abundance of fresh water. The dragonflies eat mosquitoes and keep the environment healthy. For a healthy environment, we need to follow the law of nature. He also shared that Mangroves as the coastal forest, capture 5 times more carbon than any terrestrial ecosystems.
Mr. Suhail Awan Executive Director Human Resource Development Network emphasized that Universities and the Chambers of Commerce need to be linked so that the action-oriented research can be produced.
Dr. Uzaira Rafiqe, Dean Environment, Fatima Jinnah Women University thanked the Chief Guest, speakers and participants, as well as MoCC and IUCN for joining together to organize this event.