KARACHI: A stakeholder consultative meeting was organized by IUCN Pakistan under MFF Programme with the objective of developing a programme for coastal areas of Pakistan here on Monday. The purpose of the consultation workshop was to consolidate input from the major stakeholders, chiefly the government agencies, civil society organisations, private sector and local communities working along the coast of Pakistan.
The meeting was presided by Shafique Ahmed Mahesar, Secretary, Forest, Wildlife & Environment Department, Government of Sindh, and facilitated by renowned international coastal ecosystems expert Dr. Donald Mackintosh. The meeting was attended by representatives from more than 17 organisations including Environment Department of P&D Department Government of Sindh, Sindh Coastal Development Authority, Forest and Fisheries Departments of Sindh and Balochistan, National Institute of Oceanography, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Fisheries Department, KPT, PQA and civil society organisations including IUCN, WWF Pakistan, TCCR, Sustainable Initiatives, and Indus Earth.
Recognizing the role of IUCN in environmental conservation, Mahesar highlighted the looming threats of sea intrusion, freshwater scarcity, of climate change and coastal erosion. Mahesar signified his approval of a holistic coastal programme, saying that in the rapidly changing environment, urgent steps to pre-empt further degradation of coastal areas have become imperative. “Every year, the sea is eroding into the coastal lands leading to the destruction of the livelihood of communities,” he observed.
Lauding IUCN’s efforts towards the betterment of the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan, the Secretary stressed that there was a need for an integrated policy framework to promote integrated actions for the coastal areas management.
Welcoming the participants Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan highlighted the need for developing a programme in view of the multitude of problems that have engulfed the coastal areas of Pakistan. He underscored the need for such a consultation that was necessary to collect inputs from all concerned stakeholders.
“The new Pakistan Coastal Programme (PCP) would focus on national planning and coordination for integrated coastal management, with IUCN facilitating a common understanding of sustainable coastal resources management among government, community, and private sector interests, as well as supporting on-the-ground projects involving joint stakeholders,” said Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema.
Dr Don Mackintosh stated that IUCN Pakistan was implementing the MFF initiative successfully since Pakistan joined MFF as a member country in 2010. IUCN’s experience of managing MFF and other integrated programmes – such as water, biodiversity – has placed IUCN in a strong position to build upon good practices of MFF Programme into a larger national coastal programme dedicated to Integrated Coastal Management in Pakistan. He viewed that Pakistan Coastal Programme would contribute to the sustainability of MFF programme objectives at the national level.
Based on the detailed discussion, economic valuation of coastal ecosystems, coastal fisheries and their ecosystem linkages to mangroves, poverty reduction of traditional coastal dwellers, waste management and pollution control, bridging science-to-policy gaps, climate change adaptation and management of protected areas and migratory species, were scoped as the priority thematic areas to be focused under the Pakistan Coastal Programme through multi-stakeholders engagement and adoption of integrated and ecosystem-based approaches to management (EbA). Further consultations have been planned both at the provincial and national level for developing a full-fledged coastal programme for Pakistan.