ISLAMABAD: (PR) International Mountain Day Festival was jointly organized on December 11 by the Italian Embassy in Islamabad, EvK2CNR and UNDP Pakistan. Mr. Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis & Chairman Tourism Coordination Board, His Excellency Mr. Stefano Pontecorvo Ambassador of Republic of Italy to Pakistan, Mr. Ignacio Artaza Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan, Professor Dr. Ata Ullah Shah Vice Chancellor Karakoram International University, government officials, mountaineers, students and a large number of men and women participated in the event.
Speaking at the occasion Mr. Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari said that Pakistan is extremely rich in natural beauty with 5 peaks above eight thousand meters. He said that government is implementing some of mega interventions for the clean and green Pakistan also putting a large emphasis on promotion of tourism in Pakistan including in Gilgit Baltistan. He appreciated the role of Italian Government in the conservation, eco tourism and sustainable development, particularly in Gilgit Baltistan. He hoped for the continuation of the support in the future.
His Excellency Mr. Stefano Pontecorvo welcomed all the guest to the event. He said that the International Mountain Film Festival is the third edition that takes place with the support of Italian Embassy on December 11 which marks International Mountains Day. The Ambassador paid tribute to some national and international mountaineers who lost their lives in pursuit of conquering peaks in GB. He particularly referred to Italian Mountaineers Daniele Nardi and Leonardo Comelli who died on Nanga Parbat in 2018 during a winter expedition. He shed light on the contribution and support of Italian Government in northern Pakistan for last many years.
Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan said that the mountains play very important role in the eco system. He said that the mountains are a major source of fresh water also provide habitat to variety of wildlife. He further stated that UNDP is working in the mountain regions in Pakistan including in Gilgit Baltistan where they are partnering with the Italian government in implementing number of initiatives.
Mr. Maurizio Gallo paid a tribute to the late Italian mountaineers Daniele Nardi and Leonardo Comelli who died on Nanga Parbat. He presented a summary of their mountaineering endeavors.
Mr. Ashiq Ahmad Khan, Scientific Representative, EvK2CNR gave an overview of the bio diversity, protected areas of Pakistan, measures taken towards the conservation, gaps and the way forward. He recommended to declare the entire Gilgit-Baltistan as a biosphere reserve/protected landscape with various relevant interventions involving all related institutions.
Mr. Arif Hussain Technical Representative EvK2CNR said that the close ties between Italy and Pakistan dates back to 1954 when K2 was first conquered by the Italian expedition led by Mr. Ardito Desio. He said that various very significant interventions in GB particularly in CKNP and DNP are supported by the Italian Government whereby thousands of KGs of waste from mountains and glaciers has been removed besides many other activities that focus on livelihood improvement and conservation implemented by EvK2CNR.
The best films on mountains were screened in the event while also playing the mountain music from Gilgit Baltistan that earned a lot appreciation from the participants.