MoCC, IUC rolled out National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to conserve biodiversity

Islamabad: The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, on Thursday, rolled out a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), to synergize efforts across the country towards the conservation of biodiversity, and to prevent further declines in animal and plant species.

The workshop was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Climate Change, the provincial departments of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, IUCN, media and other stakeholders. It was organized on the theme of the National Biodiversity and Action Plan (NBSAP) in consultation with provincial and national stakeholders.

“Today’s workshop is essentially a depiction of the effort that IUCN and the Ministry of Climate Change are putting in to try and preserve whatever we have in this country,” observed Arif Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change. “There are 20 targets, and even if half of those are achieved, we will have achieved a great deal,” added the Secretary. “This revised NBSAP is the first big step and I hope that in the next few years, we will begin to feel what this project has been aiming to achieve,” he noted.

NBSAP represents Pakistan’s consolidated road map for achieving the international Aichi Biodiversity Targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which Pakistan is a signatory. The development of the NBSAP centers on establishing coordination and implementation mechanisms at provincial levels for better mainstreaming of biodiversity into all sectors of development. The process is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) and IUCN with inputs and consultations with the provinces.

As a result, “NBSAP will be the sum total of provincial PBSAPs. The whole process not only identifies the strategies, actions and targets to be achieved but also generates ownership of the Provincial BSAPs and strengthened the coordination mechanism.

The Minister for Forest, Wildlife and Environment, Government of Balochistan, Obaidullah Jan Babat, also participated and ensured endorsement of the process in Balochistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Naeem Ashraf Raja, Director of Biodiversity Programme at the MoCC, said:“Our main purpose is that our indigenous species are protected and do not go extinct. NBSAP is just aligning our work with the Aichi Targets. If we can do some studies, as to where we stand on biodiversity and can place values to ecosystems, as well as the cost of inaction, we will be able to present a strong case before our policy makers so that they too are able to appreciate the urgency we’re showing in this matter,” added Mr. Raja.“The MoCC gives due credit of the progress to the provinces and territories that have been instrumental in contributing to achieving the Aichi targets. This clearly shows that awareness about the biodiversity conservation and sustainable use has increased and biodiversity concerns are getting incorporated in sectoral and cross sectoral policies and plans.”

Dr. Javed Ahmad of IUCN, who has been spearheading the process jointly with the Directorate of Biodiversity, described NBSAP as a document that belonged to the provinces, allowing for inputs in a structured process so that the sum total of all provinces is created to represent Pakistan’s national plan on biodiversity conservation aligned to Aichi Targets.

“At the start of the process all the provinces and territories were requested to facilitate the participatory planning and consultations with key resource persons and institutions. All the departments and their relevant officials participated and supported the process in full spirit,” Dr. Javed elaborated.

In his opening remarks, Mr.Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative of IUCN Pakistan, called for concerted efforts to tackle biodiversity related issues and explained the role IUCN had played in driving the process forward in consultation with MoCC. “This indeed is a very important event where we are finalizing our strategy and action plan on the biodiversity of Pakistan with a joint and concerted effort.It is a highly comprehensive process that the MoCC and IUCN have undertaken. The participation of provinces in this process and the ownership towards the national agenda is a strength that we bring together in this room and across the country,” explained Mr. Cheema.