ISLAMABAD - The United Nation Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) jointly organized the 5th meeting of SACAM network in Islamabad on Monday.

Officials and representatives of the ministry for science and technology, PSF, UNESCO and representatives from the member states including Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka along with Pakistani conservationists, scientists, and environmentalists participated in the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Hamid, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, said that it is a great privilege for him to be attending the meeting. He thanked all the stakeholders including MAB network delegates from other countries, UNESCO and PSF for organizing and supporting biodiversity initiative in the region. He said that local community is playing an important role in protecting the biodiversity.

He said that the government is preparing a document for the approval of the protection of the Karakoram Pamir Biosphere Reserve in the northern Pakistan.

The chair of the SACAM has been handed over to Pakistan for the next two years. Chairman of National MAB Committee and Secretary for Ministry of Science and Technology, Kamran Ali Qureshi, said that the South and East Asian countries are most vulnerable and “Pakistan in this context is at high risk”. He said that the receding of glaciers in the northern areas has resulted in devastating floods in the recent past, which destroyed settlements and agriculture lands causing serious problem in the national economy and revenue collection from agriculture sector. In her address, Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Director/Representative UNESCO Islamabad said that SACAM is a remarkable platform of MAB professionals, conservationists, scientists, research students of the member states and that the programme is progressing well.

As a result of these efforts, this year, Ziarat Juniper Forest of Balochistan, the second largest juniper forest in the world, has been declared Biosphere Reserve and included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.