Resilience is still a developing science, and the resilience approach is very much needed in disaster-prone countries like Pakistan – as it deals with building capacities of local communities to cope with the impacts of climate change and other disasters that are adding to the fiscal stress on Pakistan’s poor economy.
This was stated by Mr. Malik Amin Aslam, IUCN Global Vice President and Regional Councilor, who was the chief guest at the inaugural session of a three-day training workshop on building the resilience of the coastal communities.
The workshop was organized by IUCN under the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme in collaboration with Oxfam-Novib.
The purpose of the workshop is to build the capacity of the government departments, NGOs, private sector and academic institutions in terms of their familiarization with the concept of socio-ecological resilience in the MFF context and how such concept can be applied to the coastal zones. The workshop is being facilitated by Global Climate Adaptation Partnership (GCAP) experts Dr. V. D. Mathur, Dr. Steen Christensen, and Mr. Raquibul Amin of the MFF Programme, Bangkok.
Mr. Aslam appreciated IUCN and MFF Pakistan’s efforts in highlighting the value of mangroves as an important ecosystem at the global level and providing excellent learning opportunities for coastal stakeholders in Pakistan under the programme.
In his briefing, Dr. Steen Christensen said that MFF is a regional initiative working to address climate change and developmental impacts in coastal areas across South Asia. Started in 2007, the initiative works through National Coordinating Bodies in member countries to provide grants for local project delivery and other activities for strengthening coastal ecosystems and the livelihoods of the dependent coastal communities. He added that the MFF Programme adopted a strategic resilience approach to the implementation of small, medium and regional grants for the development of coastal communities and coasts across Asia, including Pakistan. ”These grants are announced in the local dailies and government agencies, NGOs and academia, can apply for these,” he observed.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan said that the purpose of this training “is to look beyond and enhance the capacity of the stakeholders so as to equip them to work towards resilience”. He added that the MFF Programme “is trying to implement a strategic approach in its implementation to create a durable impact of MFF interventions on the local communities and local ecological systems”. He encouraged the 30 participants attending the workshop “to use full opportunities of learning provided by the MFF Programme to develop strategies and actions for promoting integrated management of coastal resources in Pakistan.” He specifically appreciated Oxfam-Novib’s support in the organization of the workshop, and hoped that this training would contribute to a better understanding of the resilience concept and its implementation in Pakistan.
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The Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme is a regional initiative operating in eight countries including India, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. MFF aims to strengthen the environmental sustainability of coastal development, and to promote the investment in coastal ecosystem management. In 2011, under the MFF programme, nine organisations were awarded small grants to work on several unique projects in Sindh and Balochistan.
Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a unique partner-led initiative to promote investment in coastal ecosystem conservation. In December 2006 President Bill Clinton planted the first mangrove tree to launch the MFF initiative at a fishing village on Phuket Island, Thailand. At the launch of the Tsunami Legacy Report (2009) in the United Nations in New York In April 2009, Bill Clinton said that MFF has been one of the most positive and forward-looking developments since the tsunami. MFF provides a collaborative platform among the many different agencies, sectors and countries who are addressing challenges to coastal ecosystem and livelihood issues, to work towards a common goal. It initially focused on the countries worst-affected by the tsunami; India, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. MFF has recently expanded to include Pakistan and Viet Nam.