KARACHI   -   Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan Institute for Sustainable Halophyte Utilisation (ISHU), University of Karachi and UNESCO Thailand jointly held online forum to discuss and highlight issues related to mangroves ecosystem.

The third Mekong Mangrove Forum was organised online due to COVID-19 pandemic safety precautions. The organisers included UNESCO, UN Redd Programme, Manfred Hermsen Stiftung, Fauna and Flora International, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Conservation Foundation and United Nations Association of Pakistan.

The speakers urged that mangroves were vital blue carbon ecosystems that had been damaged and degraded worldwide. A multi-disciplinary set of presentations highlighted the need to conserve and restore blue carbon ecosystems, as well as new opportunities for action and partnership approaches. They observed that mangrove loss was still a serious problem in many countries and demanded to stop it with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, the participants were informed about a new book series, spearheaded by KU ISHU in Pakistan and would be published at Springer Nature in the Netherlands, ‘Blue Carbon Ecosystem for Sustainable Development’.

The organisers shared that this book would provide a new medium for high quality scientific publications dealing with conservation concerning, restoration and scientific research into blue carbon ecosystems. 

The editor-in-chief and the director KU ISHU Professor Dr Bilquees Gul, said that this series would provide comprehensive scientific documentation inspiring the way forward on how to sustainably utilise and conserve saline resources in the best interest of humanity.

She mentioned that the next needed steps were to foster academic research and networking, involve land-users, politicians, development banks, innovative farmers, investors, energy-producers, and carbon-off-setters to get involved.

She added that this Blue Carbon Ecosystems for Sustainable Development series would have different seven volumes.

Professor Dr Bilquees Gul shared that UNESCO had developed an open science online platform “QUEST4ACTION”, which was made available to the organisers, supporters and other partners, all of whom had important information on mangroves to be shared.

She further said that QUEST4ACTION had a mechanism to promote emerging green economies by augmenting knowledge, networking and skills for good environmental management, with a focus on solving ongoing global crises related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution and water-related calamities.

The event was held in celebration of International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. Almost 600 people attended the event of which more than 300 persons participated online, with an additional 10 people were part of the in-person panel in Bangkok, Thailand.