Moot calls for designating coasts as marine protected areas for biodiversity conservation

Location: Karachi, Pakistan . 7th Apr 2014


The 11th meeting of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) of the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme was held in Karachi, to review the progress of implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Coastal Areas of Pakistan. The strategy discusses policy measures and actions for integrated management of coastal resources in Pakistan.     

Participants at the meeting included representatives of the federal government, armed forces, government agencies, the private sector, as well as international organizations, NGOs and academia.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forest, Climate Change Division, Government of Pakistan, who in his opening remarks said: “The National Coordinating Body is the only platform on coastal areas in the country that provides an interface between various coastal stakeholders consisting of the Armed Forces, Government Agencies, NGOs and private sectors organizations.”

Referring to a recent news item on the killing of a pangolin, Mr. Nasir said: “There is a need for taking measures to protect the endangered animal species in the country and NCB members can play an important role towards addressing such issues.”

Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative IUCN Pakistan, said: The MFF Programme has progressed well in Pakistan through the coordinated efforts and valuable contribution of the NCB members. The programme has adopted a forward looking approach to embarking on the preparation of the Pakistan Coastal Programme by engaging services of an international coastal management expert – Dr. Donald Macintosh.

Dr. Macintosh presented an outline of the proposed Pakistan Coastal Programme and stressed the need for adopting a roadmap towards implementation of the integrated coastal management in Pakistan.

Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, MFF Pakistan National Coordinator, gave an overview of the progress made by MFF and highlighted the programme’s contribution towards capacity building of the coastal institutions in the country.

Mr. Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani, Deputy Inspector General Forests, highlighted various policy issues pertaining to the coastal areas. These included the issues of property rights/ land tenure, the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA), encroachment of marine turtle nesting beaches and coastal erosion in Pakistan. He highlighted that at present there was no Marine Protected Area in Pakistan contrary to the international obligations. He viewed that Astola island along Balochistan could be one of the potential MPA sites to conserve the unique biological diversity of the island and its surrounding areas.

Ms. Amber Alibhai, CEO of Shehri, lamented that the land reclamation along the coastal areas for real estate purposes was destroying the coasts and needed to be checked.