QUETTA: IUCN organized a completion ceremony of two projects funded by UNDP in Balochistan the projects was focused on Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Production Systems in the Juniper Forest and the second project was focused on conservation of Habitat and species of Global Significance in arid and semiarid ecosystem in Balochistan.
MarcAndre’ Franche, Country Director UNDP was the chief guest on the occasion whiles the Secretary Forest and Wildlife KhudaiRaheem Aijwani, Secretary Planning and Development ZeeshanulHaq, Sardar Naseer Tareen Chairman SUSG, Salim Anwar Kasi Provincial Manager RAHA Project and Mr. Nadir Gul Barech CEO BRSP were amongst the dignitaries.
The event was also attended by large number of projects beneficiaries, community’s representatives, government officials, civil society organizations and media persons. Faiz Kakar Manager IUCN Balochistan Programme shared the overall outcomes and achievements of the Ziarat Juniper project, and challenges faced during its implementation phase. He said that after an extensive struggle of more than 15 years ultimately IUCN with the support of stakeholders succeeded to get it declared the Juniper forests of Ziarat as Man and Biosphere reserves by UNESCO. It’s a major milestone achieved and will significantly contribute in promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of Juniper ecosystems with its sustainable use, he added.
The Juniper project had made certain efforts to minimize the dependency of local communities on this fragile ecosystem by providing alternatives and other long term solutions. He shared that major areas of interest for IUCN during the project implementation were promoting sustainable agriculture practices, introducing new and diseases free livestock breeds, alternate varieties of forests specifies and efficient and judicious use of water resources.
KhudaiRahim Aijwani Secretary Forest and Wildlife department applauded the efforts of the project and thanked UNDP for their constant financial support for the conservation and promotion of natural resources in Balochistan. The Ziarat Junipers are unique and precious and need more and more conservation efforts by the local communities, governments and international donors. Researchers need to be involved in evaluating the Juniper ecosystem’s services and its environmental significance, he added. He also requested UNDP for further technical and financial support in this regard.
MarcAndre’ Franche, CD UNDP appreciated the projects encouraging outcomes and assured their support in future for same initiatives. He said that Balochistan is a rich province in biodiversity and natural resources and local wisdom and knowledge is also very crucial for its sustainable management.
Documentaries of both projects were flashed in the event. Community members and other beneficiaries also shared their experiences and discussed the impact of the completed projects.