KARACHI January19: The National Coording Body of ‘Mangroves For the Future’, a South Asian initiative started in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami, was held here at the IUCN Pakistan Country Office.
The meeting was presided over by the Secretary Environment, Kamran Lashari, while Country Representative of International Union for Conservation of Nature, Pakistan, Shah Murad Aliani, and members of the Committee drawn from the Federal and Provincial Government Forest Departments, Pakistan Navy, National Institute of Oceanography, WWF, Indus Earth, SHEHRI, Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Petroleum Limited attended to draft a National Strategic Action Plan to make Pakistan a member country.
MFF was launched by the former US President Bill Clinton in December 2006, and initiated by IUCN and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), with FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), CARE and Wetlands International joining in.
Current Focal countries include those hit hardest by the 2004 Tsunami, like India, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Pakistan is a Dialogue country, along with Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, Tanzania and Viet Nam.
The National Coordination Committee was constituted with the aim to strive for full membership status for Pakistan, to enable it to benefit from resources for the protection of its coastal ecosystem.
The draft of the National Strategic Action Plan was prepared in the wake of the first meeting of the NCB on October 31, 2009.
Deliberating over the draft, members pointing out the need for developing stakeholder consensus, and a need for having an overarching body to look after the issues related to integrated coastal zone management. They also called for heightened awareness of the issues by including the stakeholders like the landowners, communities, and the policy and decision makers in the process, and better liaison between them.
Pakistan is the only Dialogue country that has made great strides and met the criteria under the leadership of the Secretary Environment. Secretary Environment, Kamran Lashari promised full support of the Ministry of Environment and called the MFF initiative ‘exciting, promising and heart warming,’ as it will positively impact the lives and livelihoods of the coastal communities in Sindh and Balochistan.
The meeting ended after noting down the observations of all the NCB members on the draft National Strategic Action Plan, which will be circulated again after they have been incorporated.
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