Gilgit - Baltistan

WWF launches project for GB lakes and wetlands

MLA Deedar Ali addressing the launching ceremony of WWF's wetlands and lake project

GIlgit: (PR) WWF-Pakistan yesterday launched the third phase of a three year long project named “Saving Wetlands Sky High”, funded by WWF and the government of Netherlands.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, MLA Deedar Ali said that Gilgit-Baltistan is blessed with an immense treasure of natural resources including wetlands and it is in our best interest to wisely manage these resources. He also appreciated the efforts of WWF-Pak and expressed his hope that this project will prove to be a mile stone in natural resource management of the region.

Speaking earlier, Muhammad Zafar Khan, Conservation manager WWF-Pak Skardu, said that WWF-Pakistan has always worked in close partnership with all stakeholders and this event is a step further to ensure collective development effort of institutions in the region.

Naseer Ahmed, Coordinator of the project briefed that there are a number of high altitude wetlands, especially lakes, in Gilgit-Baltistan in need of proper management. He suggested that through partnership and collective efforts of all stakeholders, these natural resources can be managed.

Participants, representing different line departments, NGOs and CBOs also shared their views and suggestions during a discussion session. A pictorial presentation about high altitude lakes of Pakistan and a documentary on Birds of Pakistan were also a part of the program which was appreciated by the participants.

Ghulam Abbas, Director Fisheries, Zamarud Khan, DFO Forest and the project community members shared their views and appreciated the initiative along with showing their support to WWF-Pak in the new phase of the project.

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  1. Hello,
    I am Aaliya from Hunza, Pakistan. Iam studying in Bengladesh. I have actually made proposal about Hunza Paksitan Lake that has been formed since last year. My porposal is actually about raising fund for IDPs of Atta Abad Hunza who have been suffering since land slide. However, land slide was happened, but we need to think about Hunza lake that is a great challenge for everyone in Hunza, and other Northren regions. Therefore, i want to do my project about land slide victims vulnerability in May, 2012. But before that i need to take permission from some of our leaders. I am confused whom should i ask. So can you help me to find any leader of IDPs. Thanks

  2. Attn: Ms.Aaliya

    You have made a proposal regarding Hunza Lake & wand guidence from some proper leadership. Well, you can write to Aga Khan National Council, Karachi.Your case will be refer to Regional Council,Hunza for its feasibility and necessary action. This is the only way to get a solution.

    Jehangir Shah

  3. Naser Sb,
    What about Gojal lake. Could it be included in the category of wetlands of Gilgit Baltistan. It has potential for eco-tourism projects, too.

    Rahman Posh
    Chairman, KVO

  4. We must know the importance of Wetland its definitions and impacts on Human life and biosphere.
    EPA and US CoE Wetland DefinitionBoth the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (US CoE) define a wetland as follows for the purposes of the Clean Water Act. This definition is also used in the Army Corps of Engineers 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual.[2]

    ..those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support,
    and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.
    Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
    [edit] Policy Considerations[edit] FWS Wetland Definitionand the Fish and Wildlife Service defines a wetland as follows[3]:

    “Wetlands are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near
    the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. For purposes of this classification wetlands must have one or more of the following three attributes:
    (1) at least periodically, the land supports predominantly hydrophytes;
    (2) the substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soil; and
    (3) the substrate is nonsoil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water at some time during the growing season of the year.”
    Wetlands and the Ramsar Convention

    The Ramsar Convention encourages the wise use of the natural resources of wetlands.
    Zoom In
    Water is the source of life. All organisms contain water and depend on it for survival. Water is crucial for all biodiversity including mankind. In a wide range of ecosystems water is a dominant component.

    The Ramsar definition of “wetlands” is a broad one, encompassing not just marshes and lakes, but also coral reefs, peat forests, temporary pools, even underground caves, and all sorts of other systems everywhere from the mountains to the sea, including man-made habitats.

    Naturally-functioning wetlands provide a range of under-appreciated benefits and services for people’s livelihoods and well-being, including food, fibre, flood protection, water purification and cultural values, as well as water supply. However, these wetlands are often extremely vulnerable. The use of water by people has strongly affected almost all wetlands on Earth. The construction of dams changes the course and ecology of rivers; pollution, water-extraction, development and tourism activities threaten the biodiversity of lakes; fens, mires and bogs are being exploited industrially or converted into agricultural land; and climate change has large implications for many wetland areas.

    Wetlands and biodiversity
    Wetlands are extremely important for many taxa e.g. fish, terrapins and dragonflies. Waterbirds such as herons, egrets, swans, ducks and geese, and waders, use wetlands during the majority of their lifetime.

    At least 12% of all Globally Threatened Birds, (146 species) depend on wetlands. The most important types of wetlands for these birds are lakes and pools; rivers and streams; bogs, marshes and swamps; and coastal lagoons. Due mainly to their importance for large congregations of waterbirds, wetlands make up a high percentage of Important Bird Areas (IBA). 69% of all European IBAs contain wetlands. Of those, 57% include freshwater lakes or ponds, 44% rivers and streams, 19% fens or mires and 13% mudflats and sandflats.

    The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention)
    The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, adopted in 1971, entered into force in 1975 and as of August 2006 has 152 Parties. The Convention provides a framework for international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Parties are to designate suitable wetlands for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, to formulate and implement their planning so as to promote the conservation of wetlands included in the List and the wise use of all wetlands in their territory. This also means that the Convention is concerned not just with isolated sites, but the management of the entire catchment of river-basins.

    As of August 2006, 1,610 Wetlands of International Importance, totaling 145.2 million hectares, have been designated. For a comprehensive approach to the national implementation of the Convention, many countries have developed National Wetland Policies. For details, see the Ramsar web site.

    Nowadays the Convention’s activities include everything from groundwater modelling to sustainable fisheries, climate change, disaster mitigation, economic incentives and indigenous culture. But these are not changes to its original scope – they were all in fact already implied by different parts of the original far-sighted text. Hence in recent years Ramsar has been active in a very broad range of policy and technical areas, and it’s certainly no longer mainly focused on waterbirds. Nevertheless the bird dimension is still a crucial aspect of its work, partly because birds have huge public appeal, there is a long-established and strong science-base on birds, and they have high ecological indicator value.

    BirdLife and the Ramsar Convention
    BirdLife International has been working with the Ramsar Convention from its early days, and this is reflected in BirdLife’s status as one of the Ramsar International Organisation Partners, with IUCN, Wetlands International, the International Water Management Institute, and WWF being the others. This status carries with it advantages and responsibilities, enabling as it does close contact with the decision-making bodies of the Convention. BirdLife has made many crucial contributions to the development of the Convention over the years and regularly attends and actively contributes to the Conferences of the Parties, the meetings of Ramsar’s Standing Committee, as well as Ramsar regional meetings. BirdLife is a key member of the Ramsar Scientific & Technical Review Panel, and has led a number of areas of its work.

    The Ramsar Convention has become perhaps the most important global mechanism for BirdLife Partners in their national work. Many Partners have contributed to the designation of IBAs as Wetlands of International Importance in their countries, and many help to monitor these sites. A wide range of birdwatching and awareness-raising activities of BirdLife Partners are centred on wetlands. A number of Partners assist Parties with their implementation of the Convention, for example through participation in National Wetland Committees and in the development of National Wetland Policies.

    If you have any further queries about the Convention please contact the responsible government Focal Point/Administrative Authority in your country. A list can be found on the Ramsar web site here.

    Related Links
    •World co-operation for wetlands: the Ramsar Convention – World Birdwatch, March 2003 (PDF, 165 KB)
    •Important Bird Areas and potential Ramsar Sites in Europe (PDF, 2 MB)
    •Important Bird Areas and potential Ramsar Sites in Asia
    •Important Bird Areas and potential Ramsar Sites in Africa

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