Coastal causing huge economic, ecological loss

Karachi: A national consultation workshop on coastal erosion in Pakistan was held today in Karachi, to seek inputs from relevant stakeholders for the formulation of a coastal erosion management plan.

The Coastal Erosion Management Plan is being prepared as part of the COBSEA project “Strengthening the Resilience of Coastal Communities, Ecosystems, and Economies to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Erosion”.

Under the first phase of this project, a National Assessment Report on Coastal Erosion in Pakistan has already been prepared and the second phase focuses on the development of the coastal erosion management plan.

Inputs from major stakeholders, chiefly the government agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, and local communities working along the coast of Pakistan were consolidated and participants unanimously acknowledged the intensity of the coastal erosion issue which is causing huge economic and ecological losses along the coasts of Pakistan.

IUCN in collaboration with Climate Change Division, Government of Pakistan Islamabad is implementing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) Project.  It is supported by Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and is being jointly implemented in Pakistan and Thailand.

The meeting was chaired by Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forest, and facilitated by Dr. Qama-ur-Zaman Chaudhry. The Inspector General aspired that such a document needs endorsement of Federal and Provincial governments to create a wider ownership. Dr. Chaudhry lamented that EIA’s did not cover coastal erosion and propounded that this issue also be covered in Environmental Impact Assessments.

Dr. Qamar-ur-Zaman Chaudhry also pointed out that there is no lead agency to deal with this issue holistically. He emphasized on the importance of data collection and monitoring of coastal erosion for making informed decisions.

Ms. Fauzia Malik, Programme Coordinator, IUCN Pakistan welcomed the participants and hoped that different aspects of coastal development would be debated to firm up a comprehensive Coastal Erosion Management Plan for Pakistan.

Syed Ghulam Qadir Shah, National Coordinator, MFF made a detailed presentation on the objectives of the workshop, detailing the role of Mangroves for the Future Programme (MFF) in addressing the coastal management issues and mitigating Climate Change induced impacts of coastal erosion

Mr. Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani, Deputy Inspector General Forest stressed on the importance of economic losses in figures to sensitize the policy makers.

Mr. Riaz Wagan, Conservator Forests proposed that eroding zones must be recommended priority-wise to ascertain where interventions are required and recommendations need to be made to the relevant agencies. These agencies also need to be informed about the consequences of coastal erosion and environmental degradation especially when preventive measures are avoided.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the organizations including: HEJ, Karachi University; Pakistan Navy; Karachi Port Trust; Balochistan Coastal Development Authority; Gwadar Port Authority, Sindh Coastal Development Authority; Forest and Wildlife Department, Balochistan; Planning and Development Department, Sindh; National Rural Support Programme; National Institute of Oceanography, WWF-Pakistan; Port Qasim Authority, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency; Sindh Forest Department; Sindh Fisheries Department; IUCN-Pakistan; and various civil society organizations working along the Pakistan coast.

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