Launching of Mountain Protected Areas Project by UNDP with Pakistani Stakeholders - March 29, 2017

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United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership and collaboration with Italian Agency for International Development, Ministry of Climate Change and Government of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) launched a joint project to Improve Central Korakorum National Park Management System that will be managed by the EV2CNR. EV2CNR is a non-profit association and a collaborator of ECO Science Foundation, which promotes scientific and technological research in mountain areas. In this regard, UNDP hosted a launching and signing ceremony of this project on March 29th, 2017 in Islamabad.

Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid was the Chief Guest of the Ceremony. Other notables included Iqbal Hassan, Minister for Climate Change GB, Mr. Ignacio Artaza (Country Director UNDP), Della Vedova (Under Secretary International Affairs – Government of Italy. The overall goal of implementing this project is to improve the governance of the critical mountain system of Gilgit-Baltistan to address the emerging threats of climate change to the ecology and people of central Korakoram National Park Management System under the framework of Pakistan-Italian debt for development SWAP agreement. Engr. Mr. Khalil Raza, Scientific Officer, participated in the ceremony on behalf of President ECOSF Professor Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro.

In his opening remarks, Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid said that reclamation and protection of wildlife and ecosystem of the Korakoram National Park is critical to the development of Pakistan. The adverse impacts of climate change are of immense concern for Pakistan and they impede our ability to promote sustainable development. Therefore, there is a need for effective adaptation and mitigation measures in Pakistan, he added. He appreciated the assistance being provided to government of Pakistan by the UNDP and Government of Italy.

Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Country Director, UNDP said that Pakistan has one of the most beautiful and majestic mountains in the world but such beauty is fragile if adequate governance and management of mountains systems is not adopted at this crucial stage.  He further highlighted the contribution by UNDP, as it has been supporting and is fully committed to provide technical assistance to the Government of Pakistan in the areas of environment, climate change and mitigation.

Mr. Della Vedova, Under Secretary International Affairs, assured that Government of Italy is committed to provide technical and financial assistance to Government of Pakistan to promote and maintain ecosystem of one of the largest mountain glacial system in the world. Mr. Ashiq Ahmad Khan (Advisor ECK2CNR) made a presentation on the background and objective of this project. The event concluded with signing of the agreement between the UNDP and Italian Agency for International Development for the improvement of Central Korakorum National Park Management System.

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