Desert conservation initiative begins today

Published: February 9, 2015
The famous Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert.

The famous Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert. PHOTOS: KASHIF ZAFAR/EXPRESS

LAHORE: A desert conservation initiative, DesertCon-2015, is being launched at Islamia University Bahawalpur on Monday (today). The event is being organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) in collaboration with Islamia University Bahawalpur and World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan).

Sixty students from various universities from the country will work with young men and women from Cholistan to conserve the desert.

A 20-member youth group left for Cholistan for the purpose on Sunday.

Speaking at the event, Munir Ahmad, the Devcom-Pakistan director, said that the event was an effort to bring together civil society, media representatives and the youth to urge policy makers to develop policy that addresses the problem of dessert conservation. “Warmer temperatures and less predictable rainfall caused by climate change threaten to upset the delicate balance of desert life,” he said.

“Pakistan is one of the countries that have a large desert land. It has five deserts: Cholistan Desert, Indus Valley Desert, Kharan Desert, Thal Desert, and Thar Desert,” he said.

He said that residents of Thar Desert had been suffering on account of drought. “Hundreds of children have died so far. People have also suffered loss of livestock,” he said.

WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said the urban community and the youth would be engaged to come up with desert development strategies.

Beenish Khan, a student from Peshawar, said that the initiative would help raise awareness about the challenges confronting the people living in deserts, their unique environment. The inaugural ceremony will be held at the old campus of the Islamia University Bahawalpur. Dr Masood Arshad, WWF-Pakistan senior manager; Dr Shazia Anjum, Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies (CIDS) head; Dr Fazal Shah, divisional forest officer; Irfan Farooqi, the Wildlife deputy director; Hussain Ahmad Madni, the Bahawalpur Museum director; and Rana Shahid Nadeed, the Cholistan Development Authority director; are expected to participate in the ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2015.

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