Story | 08 May, 2018

IUCN and MFF stand with Pakistan Navy in massive mangrove restoration campaign

On 3 May, the Pakistan Navy, in collaboration with Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Pakistan, launched the Mangroves Plantation Campaign for 2018 in Shah Bandar, a town in Sindh Province’s Sujawal District.

This year’s campaign, the third of its nature, is in line with the Government of Pakistan's vision for a  "Green Pakistan” and illustrates the Pakistan Navy’s strong commitment to planting two million mangrove saplings along the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces in 2018 – double the goal of last year’s campaign, which aimed to plant one million saplings.  

“Mangrove deforestation has not only affected the biodiversity of the coastal areas, but is also threatening the livelihoods of coastal communities. Overcoming this situation requires focussed attention and coordinated efforts throughout all levels of society,” said Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi. “Since 2016, the Pakistan Navy has planted more than two million mangroves along the coast, from Shah Bandar to Jiwani. I urge all stakeholders, including federal and provincial departments and civil society, to work with the Pakistan Navy to meet this year’s restoration goal.”

The Pakistan Navy has demonstrated its commitment to protecting Pakistan’s unique ecosystem through its partnership with MFF since 2011. MFF’s partnership with the Navy has evolved from localised actions to more strategic policy-level engagement: From a small-grant project in 2011 that focussed on raising environmental awareness among navy personnel, to supporting the designation of Pakistan’s first Marine Protected Area. 

Mr Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, IUCN Pakistan’s Country Representative, reminisced about the evolution of the partnership during his speech, citing the crucial role the Pakistan Navy played in 2017 to get Astola Island declared Pakistan’s first Marine Protected Area. He also highlighted the role of the Pakistan Navy in mangrove plantation and coastal areas protection, and added that “IUCN Pakistan is planting mangroves at a very large scale in collaboration with the Sindh Forest Department.” He also noted IUCN’s promotion of “private sector investment in managing coastal resources,” referring to the establishment of Karachi Conservation, Pakistan’s first Business and Biodiversity Platform, in December 2017. The multi-stakeholder platform was developed by IUCN, the Port Qasim Authority, and three of Pakistan’s leading companies. 

Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General of Forests, also spoke in appreciation of the partnership between the country’s armed forces and institutions such as IUCN and MFF.

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based regional initiative which pro-motes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in build-ing the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The initiative uses mangroves as a flagship ecosystem, but MFF is inclusive of all types of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands. MFF is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and is funded by Sida, Norad, Danida and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Thailand.