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International Union for Conservation of Nature launches environmental education and livelihood project

Karachi, November 10, 2016 (PPI-OT): IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, organized a project launch ceremony fora USAID funded project titled Integrated Approach to Education, Capacity Building and Livelihood Development of Coastal Communities in Sindh and in Balochistan Provinces, in Karachi today. The ceremony was attended by representatives from Sindh government, IUCN members, academicians, conservation experts and the media.

The project targets coastal communities focusing on raising community awareness on the importance of nature conservation, on environmental education sessions in schools and capacity-building sessions among local communities. A study on marine turtle conservation is also an integral part of the project. Another prominent component of the project is the promotion of mangrove-based eco-tourism, with the active involvement of local civil society.

In his remarks, Chief Guest Mr. Manzoor Ali Sheikh, Secretary, Sindh Forest and Wildlife Department, commended both IUCN for its efforts and USAID for its generosity and support for making this project possible, saying that it reflected USAID’s continued commitment to improving the environmental situation in Pakistan. He further said that in addition to the mentioned activities, the project would attempt to encourage mangrove-based eco-tourism by actively involving local communities that would assist in diversifying their sources of livelihood. He urged that more data on fish catch and freshwater issues along the coast should be gathered.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, IUCN Country Representative talked about some of the pressing issues facing coastal areas and communities, such as over-fishing, trade in illegal wildlife, and a lack of basic understanding of the value of natural resources. He said he was optimistic that this project would contribute to addressing these issues.

By promoting integrated coastal management and targeting the factors that contribute to livelihood vulnerability, this project will ensure that the natural diversity and ecological sustainability of Pakistan’s coasts is maintained. Mr. Cheema also voiced his appreciation of the role key member organisations were playing in helping the project team. He also thanked the American people for their generous support through USAID towards development of the coastal communities in Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Furthermore, he explained that this project will also have a study on turtles and their conservation and mentioned that IUCN has been actively engaged in the conservation and awareness-raising of sea turtles along Pakistan’s coasts, and has rescued them on numerous occasions.

Syed Ghulam Qadir Shah, MFF National Coordinator, IUCN Pakistan presented an overview of IUCN’s coastal initiatives under IUCN’s Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme and described some of the on-going challenges coastal communities face. He also mentioned the IUCN-Pakistan Navy joint mangroves plantation initiative as well as the role of the National Coordinating Body of the MFF, which provides a unique platform for stakeholder discussions on matters pertaining to the coasts.

Mr. Danish Rashdi, Programme Coordinator at IUCN and Project Manager, gave an overview of the project, its goals and objectives and key activities that would be undertake during the one-year project. Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr. Shamsul Haq Memon, former Secretary, Sindh Forest and Wildlife Department, and Mr. Wasif Saeed, Chief Economist, Planning and Development Department, FATA.

For more information, contact:
Programme Officer
Education, Communication and Outreach
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Pakistan Country Office
1, Bath Island Road,
Tel: +92-21-35861540
Fax: +92-21-35835760, +92-21-35761448, +92-21-35870287
Cell: +92-301-2931184
Email: george.sadiq@iucn.org
Website: www.iucn.org

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