Story | 12 Jan, 2024

Sports for Nature: IUCN Pakistan's adventure sports initiatives in Minapin, Gilgit Baltistan

In collaboration with the Community Welfare Foundation Minapin and Adventure Club Pakistan, IUCN Pakistan inaugurated the rock climbing site established under the Biodiversity Safeguarding Project funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). 

The event was graced by Mr. Aziz Ahmed Jamali, Secretary Finance Gilgit Baltistan, as the chief guest, and Mr. Waqas Johar, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Nagar, as the guest of honour.

Addressing the audience, Mr. Jamali praised the joint efforts of IUCN and AICS in promoting sustainable tourism. He highlighted the immense potential of Gilgit-Baltistan for eco-adventure and cultural tourism, urging concerted efforts to harness this potential. DC Nagar, Mr. Waqas Johar, commended IUCN's initiatives, their alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and stressed on promoting Ecotourism so that both environment and local livelihoods be safeguarded.

Dr. Saeed Abbas, Biodiversity Expert at IUCN Pakistan, expressed gratitude to the master trainers from Adventure Club Pakistan. He emphasized that the rock climbing activity aligns with IUCN's Sports for Nature Framework, a global initiative aimed at showcasing the significance of nature for a sustainable future. The Framework seeks to leverage sports to achieve ambitious environmental goals by 2030 and beyond.

As part of the project activity, a two-day rock climbing training session was organized for local youth on January 10-11, 2024, with technical expertise provided by the Adventure Club Pakistan. Renowned mountaineer Mr. Wajid Ullah Nagri and Spanish rock climber Mr. Norbert Manen I Perez served as Master Trainers. A climbing competition concluded the training, with plans to develop a dedicated pitch for female climbers in the coming month.

The event drew participation from local community elders, youth, and notable figures such as Mr. Norbert Manen I Perez, leading international rock climber; Ms. Mahnoor Saleh, Pride of Pakistan awardee and IUCN's Youth Ambassador for Environment GB; Mr. Tahir Imran, President, The Adventure Club Pakistan; Mr. Aftab Mehmood, Divisional Forest Officer, Nagar; Mr. Iqbal Hussain, Director Tourism GB, and representatives from IUCN's GB-based member organizations, including WWF Pakistan, Snow Leopard Foundation, and the GB Rural Support Programme.

In an inspiring display of community commitment, local youth of Minapin took charge in a determined clean-up campaign following the inaugural ceremony.

Participants lauded IUCN for its efforts in promoting sustainable tourism and leading biodiversity conservation across Gilgit-Baltistan. The event concluded with the presentation of tokens of appreciation to the top-ranked climbers of the rock climbing competition.

For more information, please contact:

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