Gilgit-Baltistan to increase protected areas to 60% by 2030

Naveed Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Mountain ecosystems, such as those along Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, are particularly fragile, threatened by climate change, habitat fragmentation, loss of biodiversity, eroding indigenous cultures and ineffectual trans-boundary cooperation.
Experts who are directly and indirectly working on mountain ecosystems, emphasized this in the first day of a two-day event held here in a local hotel.

WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Ministry of National Food Security and Research, has organized this two-day Regional workshop on “Integrated Landscape Management along the Silk Road: Managing the Health of Mountain ecosystems”.

Considering the workshop, a great platform to share problems and perspectives, the speakers emphasized on the importance of the eco system services and said that the workshop was aimed at providing a common forum at the landscape level to discuss science and practices in particular and sharing trends and potential use of common tools for ecosystem assessment and valuation as well as tools for planning and monitoring of Protected Areas and promoting ecotourism and organic products: Promoting and strategizing regarding the Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape(HKPL)’s potential for ecotourism and organic farming and trade.

ICIMOD’s programme coordinator HKPL, Ghulam Ali introduced HKPL as a strategic cooperation area and urged participants to use the platform to increase awareness and use landscape approach for ecosystem service management.

Melad Karim of AKRSP Afghanistan described the landscape as a fragile ecosystem and elaborated on similarities and differences between the countries within the landscapes and also emphasized that identifying and solving critical issues are important in the landscape.

Mehmood Ghaznavi, the conservator Parks & wildlife GB, said that GB government is determined to conserve ecosystem in the region as they have set a goal to increase the area under protected areas from 48% to 60% by 2030. “Forests should not be considered only for timber but all the regulatory services that it provides to the environment,” he added.

Anu Kumari discussed cultural tourism at length and Srijana Joshi presented key findings of rangeland resources assessment in HKPL.
Professor, Heman Das Lohano of the Institute of Business Administration and Muhammad Ismail of ICIMOD gave an overview of the ecosystem service valuation and discussed methods of tools for valuating ecosystems and ICIMOD’s framework and tools on ecosystem services assessments respectively.

They said that with the support of the concerned governments, ICIMOD is committed to landscape management and protection of ecosystems by enhancing regional learning, exchanges and networking across HKH.

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