It gives me great pleasure to present IUCN Pakistan’s annual report for the year 2016. The continued dedication of IUCN Pakistan’s staff and members has put IUCN Pakistan back on an upward trajectory. As we continue to set high standards, we are also mindful of the challenges that lie ahead of us.
The year 2016 started with a newly elected IUCN Pakistan National Committee assuming its responsibilities, with Mr. Amjad Rashid in the lead as the Chairperson.
2016 was the year of IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i in September, in which significant and effective participation by a large number of IUCN Pakistan members – including the Ministry of Climate Change as the State Member - was a great achievement in itself. The former Regional Councillor from Pakistan, Mr. Malik Amin Aslam, was re-elected for a second term (2017-2020) during the Congress.
Other highlights of the year include the award of three major projects, including a GEF-funded Sustainable Forest
Management project; headway into the CPEC through the signing of a contract with a Chinese company in Karachi and a joining of hands with the Pakistan Navy for a massive mangroves plantation campaign along Pakistan’s coasts.
Initiatives such as the Pakistan Sustainable Transport (PAKSTRAN) project and National Action Programme (NAP) yielded some commendable results as they successfully came to a close by the end of the year. It is worth mentioning here that PAKSTRAN has been the only project on sustainable transport within the IUCN network globally and quite aptly addressed at least three of the UN’s seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Also a key highlight of 2016 was the regional symposium on vultures, which marked the successful conclusion of a year-long project on vulture conservation. The symposium addressed the reasons behind the dramatic decline in vulture populations in South Asia in recent years, presented some important solutions and laid the foundations for a robust national vulture conservation strategy.
On the heels of the Vultures Conservation project, another project titled ‘Integrated Approach for Education, Capacity Building and Livelihood Development of Coastal Communities in Sindh and Balochistan’ was launched, funded by the USAID Small Grants Ambassador’s Fund programme. This project aims to expand on the achievements of our previous partnership with USAID by focusing on raising environmental awareness in schools and among fishing communities, while also including a study on the illegal trade in freshwater turtles.
Our engagement with the private sector has also expanded, with new projects signed with Engro Foundation and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC). As ever, we remain committed to fostering sustainable and inclusive development while ensuring that our natural environment is preserved for future generations. Looking to the future, I remain optimistic that IUCN Pakistan will continue setting challenging goals for itself and pursuing high standards with the same innovation, dedication and perseverance it has always shown.
Mahmood Akhtar Cheema,
Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan