Climate change : Biodiversity loss alarming: official

Secretary stresses steps be taken to save ecosystem.

Our Correspondent May 23, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Climate Change Secretary Syed Abu Ahmad Akif has pledged to stem biodiversity loss in the country in collaboration with all provincial forest and wildlife departments and non-governmental organisations.

“We must realise that loss of biodiversity in all parts of the country has sped up alarmingly and many wildlife and plant species are on the verge of extinction,” Secretary Syed Abu Ahmad Akif stressed, while addressing a concluding ceremony of the three-day national awareness-raising and training workshop on “Biodiversity conservation, access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of the their benefits under the United Nations’ Nagoya Protocol”.

He was speaking at a gathering of biodiversity, wildlife, forest, water department experts, and conservationists.

Akif said halting biodiversity loss should be taken as a national duty.

“We must understand that biodiversity is the foundation for the life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It underpins peoples’ livelihoods and sustainable development in all realms of socio-economical activity, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among others. By halting biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being,” he emphasised.

While counting causes of the biodiversity loss, Akif listed increasing population, spontaneous, reckless urbanisation, deforestation and overexploitation of natural resources as the main factors.

However, the climate change secretary urged the biodiversity experts to prioritise prevention of threatened species first from becoming extinct by protecting them from threats such as habitat loss due to unplanned urbanisation, population growth and pollution.

Climate Change Ministry Inspector General of Forests Syed Mahmood Nasir said that biodiversity was an important cross-cutting issue in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The goal 15 explicitly recognises the significance and benefits of putting an end to the biodiversity loss and recognising the importance of biological diversity for fighting poverty, providing food and fresh-water, and improving the life, he pointed out.

“It is critical that we make progress in mainstreaming biodiversity and transforming how societies value and manage it,” Nasir stressed.

Climate Change Ministry Director Biodiversity Raja Naeem Ashraf informed the participants that the ministry had hammered out a draft National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP).

Talking about aims of the draft plan, Ashraf said, “The draft plan or NBSAP aims to check the biodiversity loss by conserving and protecting the wildlife and plant species, restore ecosystems and promote sustainable use of natural resources for the wellbeing of the present and the future generations.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2016.

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