News | 03 Sep, 2023

Pakistan’s Coastal National Coordinating Body Urges Attention to Depleting Coastal Resources

Experts Underscore Need for more Marine Protected Areas in Pakistan

The 22nd meeting of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) of the coast was organized by IUCN Pakistan to discuss issues and depleting coastal resources, especially in the wake of climatic impacts, calling for the need to create more marine protected areas in Pakistan.

The NCB meeting was a key feature of one of IUCN’s long-running Mangroves for the Future Programme that ended 2018, and has thereafter been supported by IUCN in partnership with organizations such as Engro Foundation, Monaco Foundation and other funding sources. 

Distinguished experts at the meeting included representatives from the government line departments, coastal agencies, Pakistan Navy, as well as from civil society organizations and academia. 

Stakeholders emphasized the urgent necessity of designating marine and coastal areas as Protected Areas. “Presently, less than 1% of the coast enjoys protection, and Pakistan, as a dedicated CBD signatory, needs to declare at least 30% of its coast as  Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) under the 30x30 agenda,” said Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan.

In pursuit of this urgent need for MPA declaration, the NCB platform, through its IUCN-MFF-programme, established a dedicated sub-committee. This sub-committee identified coastal and marine areas suitable for MPA designation which include Ras Malan, off Pasni, Kalamat Hor, Charna Island, Miani Hor, and Jewani, explained the Inspector General of Forests, Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah.

In his remarks Ghulam Qadir Shah, Inspector General of Forest (IGF)/ Secretary NCB , Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, Government of Pakistan praised NCB as a prime example of collective achievements in the domain of coastal preservation. He further said that NCB is the only forum that has not only persevered but thrived, remaining active even after the culmination of the IUCN-MFF programme across the region.

Further enhancing this commitment, the 22nd meeting has taken a significant step forward by officially reviving the subcommittee responsible for Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation. 

The NCB meeting also launched "Building Resilience of Coastal Ecological and Social Systems of Pakistan" project, generously funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. “This project will primarily focus on the establishment and strengthening of MPAs, with the main emphasis on the development of a management plan for pre-existing Astola Island MPA. Furthermore, the project aims to rehabilitate degraded coastal ecosystem, enhance capacity building and diversify livelihoods of local communities, thus contributing to the holistic well-being of both people and the environment,” said Mr. Naveed Soomro, Manager Sindh Programme, IUCN Pakistan.  

Mr. Riaz Wagan, Conservator Forest, Sindh Forest Department, shared the achievement of Sindh Forest Department in increasing mangrove cover to about 160,000 hectares. He also emphasized the significance of the carbon offsetting potential of mangroves in the blue carbon market.

Captain Badshah of the Pakistan Navy highlighted the Pakistan Navy's contributions to marine protection, particularly through their water treatment, desalination, and mangrove restoration projects.

During the event, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad, Chief Conservator Forests, Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department, shared the coastal conservation initiatives under the Green Pakistan Program, an extension of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program. He also highlighted successful mangrove restoration initiatives in collaboration with IUCN within the Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development project, and emphasized the eco-tourism potential of turtle conservation at Naran Beach.

Giving the vote of thanks, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan, stressed the importance of a collaborative approach to coastal governance and the active involvement of diverse stakeholders in safeguarding and conserving the marine ecosystems. He further emphasised on establishing a dedicated consortium focused on the restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Hammad Saeed
Manager, Communications and Knowledge Management
IUCN Pakistan, Islamabad Country Office
Cell. +92 307 7773801