In collaboration with IUCN Pakistan and the Planning & Development Department, the Environmental Cell of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) celebrated the International Day of Forests on March 21 and World Water Day on March 22 at the FATA Secretariat. Both days were celebrated through interactive sessions with the relevant stakeholders as per this year’s themes. The celebration events were structured so as to create maximum awareness about the thematic topics and motivate the participants to take appropriate actions at the institutional and the individual levels. A large number of participants from line departments of FATA attended the sessions.
The International Day of Forests was celebrated on March 21. Theme of the year was “Forests and Energy”, the discussions of International Day of Forests focused on the role of Forests as Nature’s Power Houses for meeting Society’s energy needs in addition to their other ecosystem functions. The topic had particular relevance in the context of FATA as the majority of its population lives in rural areas and biomass is the major source of energy throughout FATA. Woody Biomass is used not only in residential areas for cooking, space heating and other utility functions, but most of the rural businesses and enterprises and institutional premises also depend on wood as a source of energy. The session highlighted the need for planting more trees in FATA based on the availability and suitability of vast chunks of land in FATA, and the role of trees in Climate Change; mitigation and adaptation; biodiversity conservation; watershed protection; employment generation and livelihoods improvement. It was also resolved by the participants that FATA Forestry Sector would register itself under the Bonn Challenge – a global initiative committed to restore 150 million hectares of the planet's deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
The World Water Day was celebrated on 22nd March 2007 at the FATA Secretariat. The theme of the day was “Why Waste Water”. The World Water Day participants included: government officials from Irrigation Sector, Agriculture and Livestock Sector, Public Health Engineering Sector and relevant stakeholders from the Forestry Sector; and representatives of the Planning and Development Department, FATA. Given the arid and semi-arid characteristic of FATA, water is of critical importance in the area. The issue has attained increased significance in FATA in the face of the Climate Change. The discussions also took stock of the water, use, protection and management issues in FATA with special reference to the IUCN Study on “Water Challenges and Water Governance in FATA”. It was highlighted that currently in FATA the underground water is being over-harvested, while the surface water is being under-utilized and gets wasted through run-off. It was therefore unanimously recommended by the participants the reorientation of the Water Strategy in FATA and proper implementation of the recommendations made in the IUCN Study with regard to the institutional reforms at the government, civil society levels and in the private sector, capacity building, etc. While deliberating on the Waste Water Management, it was strongly recommended by the participants for working on the mechanisms for minimizing the waste of water, recycling and re-use after treatment. It was further agreed to follow the step-by-step recommendations given under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.3 with respect to water pollution and achieving the target of halving the proportion of untreated water as envisaged under this SDG.
For more information, please contact:
Education Communication and Outreach