The Astola Island Ecological Baseline Study was on the cards of the Government. This was stated by Malik Amin Aslam, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change during the IUCN Pakistan National Committee Meeting held on November 30, 2018 at the IUCN Islamabad Programme Office where Members of the Committee met to discuss environmental priority areas and sustainable development.
On this occasion Mr. Malik said that local tourism is already picking up momentum in the country, but the Government was giving high priority to ecotourism. In this connection, he mentioned that Baseline Study was essential to move towards this direction.
The Astola Island is the first marine protected area in Pakistan.IUCN has developed an Eco-tourism report on the Island, which presents results of the first ever comprehensive research survey of Astola Island conducted under IUCN’s Mangroves for the Future Programme in collaboration with the IUCN Member organizations and other stakeholders.
Mr. Malik informed the Members that the Government of Pakistan is keen to hold the IUCN Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) in Pakistan in the year 2019. He was of the view that this would help in building a soft image of Pakistan in the world and would also help in projecting its achievements in the area of environment and sustainable development especially the A Billion Tree Tsunami project.
He further informed that the Government is working on Clean and Green Gwadar, which is going to be part of Clean and Green Pakistan. He said that the Government is going to sign an MoU with the Chinese Government who is very keen in the promoting a Clean and Green Gwadar as part of greening the CPEC.
Earlier Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, IUCN Country Representative welcomed the members to the meeting. He also presented the overall view of the IUCN projects being implemented by IUCN in collaboration with its members in Pakistan. During the meetinghe informed that Pakistan has the largest number of IUCN members in Asia.
Mr. Javed Jabbar former Senator and IUCN Global Vice President appreciated the potential of the IUCN Members in making efforts to conserve natural resources of the country. He also appreciated the global initiatives of IUCN towards bringing the communities together for the protection of forests and natural wealth.
Raja Muhammad Razzaque, Director General Forest sought help of IUCN and the Member organizations in enforcement of the Environmental laws in the AJ&K for better management of the natural resources. He said that the AJ&K is very willing to work for mitigating the impacts of climate change and earnestly need to develop capacity of its staff members.
The members participated in the meeting included: Taraqee Foundation; Institute of Rural Management; Human Resource Management Network; Baanhn Beli; WWF-Pakistan, HANDS; Trust for Conservation of Coastal Resources; Environmental Protection Agency,
AJK; Aga Kan Rural Support Programme;KhwendoKor; Haashar Association, SUNGI Development Foundation; The Scientific and Cultural Society of Pakistan; Legends Society; South Asian Agricultural Conservation Network; Rural Aid Pakistan; Azat Foundation; Strengthening Participatory Organization, Saibaan;and Sindh Coastal Development Authority.