Press release | 22 Jun, 2011

Religious leaders can play a vital role in environmental conservation

“Religious leaders can play a vital role in environmental conservation”. This was stated by Zabardast Khan Bangash,  Manager IUCN Balochistan Programme in a presentation on climate change organized for selected religious leaders of Quetta city and surrounding areas. The presentation was organized by IUCN Pakistan under its Balochistan Partnership for Sustainable Development (BPSD) programme.

Fifteen selected Ulema headed by renowned scholar Dr. Atta-Ur-Rehman attended the presentation. The title of the presentation was, ”Climate Change and Islam”.  Mr. Bangash defined the Climate Change and global warming and also gave a detailed account of the negative impacts of the climate change being observed locally and globally. He said that these impacts are visibly seen in shape of receding glaciers and changing precipitation levels on communities worldwide. He added that Pakistan is a front line state and is placed very high on the vulnerability index despite the fact that it ranks 135th on the polluters index. This makes the country vulnerable to the extreme weather events like floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, landslides and wild forest fires.
He shared that desertification; land degradation and drought affects will dramatically alter the land use and productivity of crops. These effects will be more severe on the poor people living in the developing countries. He shared the latest research findings about the threats of desertification, land use change, sea-level rise and the resulting food security issues. The religious leaders took keen interest in the presentation and asked various questions with regard to the global warming and its effects, especially on the province of Balochistan. Dr. Atta-Ur-Rehman said that these changes have been predicted by Islam about 1400 years ago and the scientific revelations are exactly in line with the Quranic teachings. He further said that this presentation was an eye-opener for them, as they could not imagine the impacts of climate change will be so severe. He said that a committee of Ulema will be constituted to highlight the issue of climate change and also convene a press conference to inform masses about the importance of environment and cleanliness in our religion.
Due to time constraints only part-1 of the presentation could be completed. The second session which suggests possible solutions to the problems will be organized on 30th June at Quetta office.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Zabardast Khan Bangash,
Manager IUCN Balochistan Programme,
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Quetta Phone: +92 8128240450-2, Fax: +92 812820706