KARACHI - Conservationists highlighting vulnerability of coastal cities, including Karachi, to the fast changing climatic conditions have called for active participation of citizens in protection of coastal ecosystem. Addressing a session organised as part of “Restoration and Rehabilitation of Mangroves Ecosystem along the Coasts of Pakistan,” they highlighted urgency to protect the fragile mangroves ecosystem. “There is urgency to conserve the country’s natural resource base that often provide inherent barrier against emerging threats of natural calamity,” said Tahir Qureshi, a coastal resource expert. He also discussed essential role of mangroves ecosystems on local coasts and their immense benefits, not only to the coasts, but also to the communities that dwell along the shores. Dr Shahid Amjad, Head of Environment and Energy Management, Institute of Business Management discussed in detail the economic valuation of the coastal ecosystem.  Sharing findings of his recently conducted study, he said that while coastal areas are generally productive, coastal areas with mangroves are phenomenally productive.

Riaz Wagan, Chief Conservator, Sindh Forest and Wildlife Department highlighted key achievements made during last few years in addressing the issue of sea intrusion along the Sindh coast.

Meher Marker Noshirwani, Regional Vice Chair of the International Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy reiterated need to raise environmental awareness in the society, given the onset of challenges posed by climate change.

“The livelihoods of the coastal communities also depend on it,” she said.

The activist also emphasized the importance of the private sector’s role in safeguarding natural resources and in particular context of mangrove conservation appreciated Sui Southern Gas Company’S contribution to the cause.

IUCN Pakistan Country Representative Mahmood Akhtar Cheema presented an overview of the SSGC-IUCN project that among other achievements also managed plantation of 10,000 mangrove saplings in the project area.

Cheema mentioned that series of training sessions have been conducted under the project paving way for capacity building of concerned stakeholders in particular context of best practices in nature conservation.

Coastal communities were said to be essentially involved so that their livelihoods were made sustainable through efficient use of resources.

“The communities are being taken on-board in efforts to conserve mangrove forests on sustainable basis,” said Cheema.

Shahbaz Islam, Head of Corporate Communications, SSGC presented a documentary on SSGC’s various CSR initiatives across Pakistan and commended the joint initiative undertaken on mangroves restoration with IUCN.

The event was attended by representatives of the private sector, NGOs, government agencies, the media, and academia.