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Conserving wetlands must for human survival, flood mitigation: Minister

Islamabad, February 03, 2015 (PPI-OT): A message of the Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahid Ullah Khan, regarding the World Wetland Day 2015 was read out at an event by Umeed Khalid, Conservator Wildlife at the ministry of Climate Change.

In the message, the federal minister has urged for action by all segments of civil society for conservation of the wetlands in the country for mitigating impacts of climate change-induced floods, which are becoming frequent in Pakistan.

The minister, Mushahid Ullha Khan, says in his message that media can play a vital role in sensitizing people about importance of the wetlands and their role for environmental services, human survival, biological diversity and mitigating impacts of floods. The wetlands are water bodies in shape of lakes, marshes, peatlands, wet grasslands, streams and rivers.

The event “Wetlands for Better Tomorrow” was organized jointly by the Ministry of Climate Change, FAST University (Islamabad campus) and Snow Leopard Foundation and was attended by scientists, research scholars, environmentalists, water experts from government and non-government sectors and students.

World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated each year on 2nd February to commemorate the day on which the Ramsar Convention was agreed in Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. Pakistan is amongst the countries, which are signatory to Ramsar Convention since its inception.

In Pakistan, there are about 225 wetlands, covering 780, 000 hectares, which makes up 10 percent of the country’s total land mass. The country has so far notified 19 wetlands of international importance as Ramsar sites. The case for designation of 20th Ramsar Site has been processed for notification by the Ramsar Secretariat on eve of WWD-2015.

The wetlands not only help cope with environmental challenges but also provide livelihoods to millions of people settled around the water bodies, the minister says. Later, Professor Adil Kazi further highlighted importance of wetlands and biodiversity conservation. A documentary “Beauty of Wetlands of Pakistan” prepared by Mr. Gazanfar Ali Khan, of Save Wildlife and Nature (SWAN) was shown to the participants for advocacy and awareness-raising.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Saleem
Deputy Director
Media and Communication
Ministry of Climate Change
Government of Pakistan
LG and RD Complex, G-5/2, ISLAMABAD
Ph: 051-9245565
E-mail: moccpakistan@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.mocc.gov.pk/

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