By Ahsan Jamil

TO HIGHLIGHT the significance of biological diversity and spread awareness in order to account for biodiversity conversation, the International Biological Diversity Day was celebrated on 22nd of May. Climate change impacts, urbanization, and non-sustainable development are the root causes of biodiversity reduction and extinction of different species. The International Day for Biodiversity is part of a series of activities to focus attention on the Convention on Biological Diversity. This year theme for International Biodiversity Day was “Biodiversity for sustainable development” to underline relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development.

Pakistani SandT organizations also unveiled their zest to deal with this global concern and by recognizing the importance of biodiversity conservation; an event was organized at Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) to celebrate International Day for Biodiversity. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) was the chief guest of the event.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the event, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf said that agenda of different national and international summits on biodiversity was the same focusing problems like clean water scarcity, climate change, biodiversity loss and food security etc. He stressed that instead of creating awareness about these issues now it is time to take practical measures for halting and reversing the loss of biological diversity.

Stressing the importance of biodiversity, Dr. Ashraf said that every living thing is part and parcel of this universe and its existence is not without any purpose as every living thing depends upon others for food and shelter and cant survive in isolation. He said that elimination of a single creature jeopardizes the survival of many other living things.

The Chairman PSF reiterated that all those issues were interlinked and appropriate methodology must be adopted to address them. He was of the view that students are saviors of our future and they should take proactive participation in activities like plantation to protect biodiversity. He also emphasized the need for actions to achieve sustainability of our natural resources. The invasive species of plants that are heavily consuming underground water and should be eliminated from those areas which are short of water in order to maintain natural balance of ecology, he said while addressing the audience.

Prof. Dr. Qasim Jan, Advisor COMSTECH said on the occasion, that certain species are eliminating very rapidly due to geological changes that are triggered by human intervention. He said that climate of our planet earth has risen by one degree and at two degree the temperature will reach at the level of very hot, while if it rose at four degree there will be disaster. Dr. Qasim Jan futher elaborated that per capita water has reduced five times and we have to conserve water by reducing its use as there is a fixed budget of water on this planet.

To improve awareness in young school students, a poster competition in biodiversity perspective was also organized at the event. A large number of school students highlighted this years theme “Biodiversity for sustainable development” through this poster competition, which were designed and displayed on spot. Chairman PSF awarded certificates to the winners of the competition.

The event was attended by substantial gathering of students, academicians, faculty members of universities, scientists, environmentalists, media and general public. The challenges, and opportunities of biodiversity particularly in Pakistan`s perspective were thoroughly enumerated by the experts who urged to work in collaborative way to address this issue. The individuals were also sought to play their vital role in preserving the biological diversity by changing the lifestyles and customs that contribute to biodiversity reduction ultimately.

Dr. Z.B. Mirza, Zoologist and Wildlife Specialist, Saeed-uz-Zaman, Consultant Biodiversity and Dr. M.K. Leghari, DG, PMNH and Dr. Muhammad Rafique, Director Zoological Science Division, PMNH also spoke on the occasion and highlighted various challenges to biodiversity and imperative steps required to combat them.

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