ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan Friday said Pakistan is committed to zero tolerance of illegal killing, taking and trade of wild birds.

The minister said this in a message regarding World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). It is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.

It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

The theme of the World Migratory Bird Day 2018 is; Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation.

Mushahidullah further added that every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, educational programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD.

All these activities can also be undertaken at any time of the year because that countries or regions observing the peak of migrations at different times, but the main days for the international celebrations on the Second Saturday in May and in October.

He also highlighted that World Migratory Bird Day activities take place in many different countries including Pakistan and places across the globe united by a common campaign and theme.

In this way, individual events can be shared with others around the world and help inspire them to take action too.

This April, some of the greatest minds of the conservation world including Pakistan assembled at a global summit in Abu Dhabi, to thrash out the issues threatening our migratory birds.

He stressed that Migratory birds don’t have an easy life: They have to run the gauntlet of illegal hunting / killing, wind turbines, pollution and panoply of other threats. Pakistan is committed to tackle the threats faced by migratory birds.

Pakistan is located on a cross road of bird migrations which is called Central Asian Flyway (CAF) connecting Central Asia to Indian Ocean. CAF mainly falls in Indus Plains in Pakistan is followed by a number of wintering birds during their migration from Central Asia to subcontinent, the Minister added.

He also highlighted that Pakistan has five diverse and representative eco-regions included in Global 200 eco-regions, identified by WWF.

Pakistan with its unique geographical location and climatic conditions has a varied and interesting mix of flora and fauna. About 668 bird species are reported in Pakistan which includes both resident and migratory species.

All important migratory birds species are” Protected” under respective provincial wildlife legislations and its hunting, killing and capturing is completely banned. Any violation is punishable with imprisonment or a fine or with both.

Awareness Raising and Capacity building 

Awareness raising activities have been undertaken to highlighting importance of migratory species.

Important events like World Wetlands Day, World Wildlife Day, and World Migratory Birds Day etc are celebrated to enhance awareness on the species.

He highlighted that Pakistan is taking initiatives to conserve wildlife in Pakistan that includes revival of Wildlife Resources in Pakistan Rs. 1065.187 million.

The aim of the project is to revive and functionally reorganize wildlife departments at provincial/ AJK, GB & FATA through development of time bound plans including capacity building and incentive driven performance regime.

Pakistan Migratory Birds and Houbara Bustard Endowment Fund with a seed money of Rs. 250 million.

He emphasized that The Government of Pakistan is committed to comply with all the national / international conventions / treaties like Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The Government of Pakistan is committed to zero tolerance of illegal killing, taking and trade of wild birds.

Increased effort is needed to strengthen, comply with and enforce relevant legislations and judicial processes, and engage with stakeholders, local communities and wider society to change attitudes towards zero tolerance of illegal killing of migratory birds.