Romina underlines urgency of ‘collective action’ for safeguarding GB’s significant natural heritage

ISLAMABAD, Jun 27 (APP):Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Romina Khurshid Alam on Thursday underlined urgency of ‘collective action’ for safeguarding the Gilgit Baltistan (GB)’s globally significant natural heritage. 

Romina Khurshid Alam said, “Pakistan’s northern region is home to unique biodiversity and ecosystems of global repute. But, they are grappled with several significant threats stemming from both natural and human-caused factors.”

Addressing as a keynote speaker at a national seminar on the ‘Biodiversity Safeguarding Initiative: Global Assessment of the State of Nature and Biodiversity Safeguarding Actions in Northern Pakistan’ here, the PM’s climate aide stressed that tackling escalating risks to the resource-rich biodiversity and ecosystems was a need of the hour to protect the biodiversity and resource-rich ecosystems for overall environmental and human sustainability and development.

Spelling out the threats to the sustainability of biodiversity and ecosystems, Romina Khurshid Alam said, “Continuing loss of habitat and fragmentation, deforestation and land degradation, soil erosion, water and soil pollutions and contamination, illegal wildlife poaching and trade, unsustainable agricultural practices, use of chemical fertilizers in farming, unsustainable production and consumption patterns and climate change are among the key pressing challenges facing the unparalleled biodiversity in the country’s north.”

She emphasized the need for urgency of collective action for safeguarding the region’s natural heritage comprising unique biodiversity and natural ecosystems.

“Northern Pakistan is blessed with unparalleled biodiversity, but it is under threat. Through collaboration and shared responsibility, we must work together to protect our ecosystems and conserve the biodiversity in the country, particularly in the northern parts for sustainability of the environment, of our own and future generations,” PM’s coordinator Romina Khurshid told the participants.

She also hailed the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Pakistan) for organising an important seminar on the Biodiversity Safeguarding Initiative for sharing the project achievements and collectively focuses on the conservation of biodiversity in the country.

“On behalf of Government of Pakistan, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), Government of Italy, Government of GB, IUCN Pakistan and local communities for making this possible to achieve important benchmarks in safeguarding the biodiversity of the fragile ecosystems of northern Pakistan through the joint imitative of national importance,” the PM’s climate aide said during her address.

Gilgit-Baltistan is the biodiversity rich region of Pakistan, being home to the national animal of Pakistan Markhor. Unique flora and fauna of this region is exceptional with the highly conservation orientated local communities. Community based Trophy hunting programme has become most interesting and rewarding initiative that has not only increased the population of key Cites species and in-turn elevated the lives of local communities.

“However, I consider this Biodiversity Safeguarding Project a major milestone in establishing collaborative initiatives by key stakeholders in the environmentally-sensitive region of Gilgit-Baltistan,” Romina Khurshid said.

“Assessment of key wildlife species has been a remarkable advancement with regards to status of biodiversity in the country,” she highlighted.

She also highlighted that establishment of biodiversity corridors in the Khunjerab National Park jointly with the local community and GB Forest, Parks and Wildlife department is another unique initiative, which would significantly help for biodiversity conservation.

“Establishing the corridors has proved a positive step because the Khunjerab National Park has been selected as a candidate for the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, which will help draw global support to protect and conserve the globally-important unique biodiversity in the national park,” The PM’s coordinator Romina recalled.

“No doubted community-based eco-tourism pilots have paid fruitful dividends and proved as excellent examples towards establishing sustainable tourism in the northern region, she highlighted.

“Given the positive outcomes of the community-based ecotourism, there is serious need for launching similar initiatives needed to be launched in other locations by the local communities in collaboration with the relevant departments like Forest, Parks and Wildlife department and tourism department for promotion of the nature-based tourism in fragile ecosystems of the country,” she underlined.