We have embarked on a mission to raise awareness and mobilize people for biodiversity conservation
Roomi S. Hayat, a CEC member, is Chairperson, Human Resource Development Network (HRDN)
My association with the development sector of Pakistan goes back to early 1990s and since then a lot has changed. When I first joined the development sector, our work mainly focused on the rural communities of Pakistan and how to bring them out of the vicious trap of poverty. Our aim was to improve the quality of life of the poor, and for that matter I committed myself to building the capacity of the poor segments of the society for harnessing their true potential for improving their livelihoods. But in the last two decades, a lot has changed. Development practitioners around the globe started talking about environment and its drastic affects on our ecosystem. This was when I started realizing that we also need to focus on conservation of our ecosystem.
For the last many years I have committed myself to work for conserving the rich biodiversity our nature has provided us. At HRDN, I have always promoted actions to conserve our biodiversity and always supported and encouraged my team to be environmentally conscious. To play its part in biodiversity conservation, HRDN embarked on a mission to mobilize the general society and involve them in our cause.
At HRDN, we strongly believe that the first tool for biodiversity conservation is awareness raising. Therefore, to achieve our goal, our strategy was to raise awareness about biodiversity among the general population including professionals, community members, students and other stakeholders and encourage them to take action and play their part. For this matter, HRDN has been involved in regularly organizing various biodiversity related thematic forums, national and international conferences, holding talks at universities and sharing knowledge through various tools, including social media. To contribute to the Aichi Target 1 i.e. Awareness and Appreciation of Biodiversity, HRDN organized various forums with different themes relating to biodiversity conservation.
In March 2013, HRDN organized a thematic forum on “Threats to Vultures is a Threat to Human Health” in Islamabad, Pakistan and a number of factors and areas were discussed to improve the conservation of not just vultures but other endangered species in the context of Pakistan. The forum was planned to create awareness while focusing on the conservation strategies in Pakistan regarding endangered species.
Similarly, a thematic forum / lecture on “Climate Change Concerns and Pakistan” was arranged by HRDN in 2012 to discuss the areas of Climate Change, Forestry, Biodiversity Conservation, Participatory Natural Resource Management, Environmental Fiscal Reforms and Air Quality Management.
In 2012, we held a “National Conference on Mangroves” for highlighting the great importance of Mangrove Forests. People from different walks of life including students and professionals attended the workshop. Senior officials from the Government of Sindh also participated in the event. In the conference, a declaration was signed to reach out to one million people for raising their awareness regarding the issue. The campaign is still ongoing and in the coming months, we plan to arrange small talks for university students for raising their awareness and taking them on board. Moreover, in response to the conference, HANDS, a Pakistan based NGO, announced to play its part to save the cause and planted 5000 juvenile mangroves. The conference received extensive media coverage and special interviews with experts were regularly broadcasted on TV.
Our belief is that every individual has a role in biodiversity conservation and we are determined to play our part by raising awareness and encouraging people to act and save our ecosystem.
Roomi S. Hayat is a management and institution development expert, trainer and facilitator who carries a portfolio of designing and conducting more than 500 training events both domestically and internationally. He is the chairperson of Human Resource Development Network (HRDN) and Chief Executive Officer of IRM.