KARACHI - Speakers at a seminar on Monday said that Sindh is facing socio-ecological and economic problems which need to be addressed on an urgent basis. They expressed these views in their addresses at the concluding ceremony of the first phase of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan’s (WWF-P) Indus for All Programme, which was attended by government officials and academia, civil society and local community representatives. Speaking on the occasion, Forest and Wildlife Department Secretary Mushtaq Ali Memon said that Sindh was facing socio-ecological and economic problems that needed to be addressed on an urgent basis. He said that the programme had played a crucial role in revision of Sindh Wildlife Act 1972 and Sindh Forest Act 1927, as well as in restoration of Haleji Lake and establishment of internal irrigation system at Pai Forest. He promised continued support in phase two of the programme.Presenting his welcome note, Dr Ejaz Ahmad, Senior Director, WWF – P, said that the programme aimed at protecting Indus River which is the main source of water for Sindh province. “Conservation process takes a lot of time and commitment of the people”, he observed. Dr Ahmed paid particular emphasis on the support by government departments in successful implementation of Indus for All Programme.Rab Nawaz, Director Sindh, WWF-P shared the details of programme. He said that Indus Ecoregion supports rich biodiversity, including unique birds and animals. He further said that the programme has addressed the issues of natural resource management, pollution, sea erosion, loss of species, deforestation, hunting of birds and animals, and poverty. Nawaz lauded the contribution of community based organizations who worked as active field partners. Examples of support extended by the programme includes provision of 85 biogas plants, 155 solar panels, 38 matkas for fishing, 30 legal nets, 238 ice boxes and 15 wind sails to local communities at the sites. In addition to this, two IT centres, seven vocational training centres, two bakeries and two information centres at Keenjhar Lake and Chotiari Reservoir have also been established. Under capacity building, media support was commendable, he said, in addition to technical and other articles and publications shared with a wide audience. In the next phase, he said we look forward to financial support of World Bank and other development agencies. To protect Indus eco-region, water security was pointed out as the thematic focus in future.Ghulam Muhammad Mahar, Director General, Livestock and Fisheries Department, said that the Programme has developed valuable reports after consultations with relevant groups. He further said that due to the awareness campaign under the Programme local people have learnt about environmental terms such as wetland, biodiversity and endangered species. Fazal Ahmed Nizamani, Senior Chief, Water and Drainage Section; Ghulam Qadir Shah, IUCN representative, Nasir Ali Panhwar and field partners namely Ghulam Mustafa Meerani, Shakeel Memon, Majeed Mangrio, Ameen Keerio and Ghulam Qadir Palari also spoke at the occasion.