International Union for Conservation of Nature Pakistan IUCN has organized the 17th meeting of National Coordinating Body (NCB) of Mangroves for the Future Programme (MFF) Pakistan was organized by at HEJ – Institute of Chemistry. meeting was chaired by Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Mr. Abu Ahmed Akif has chaired the event and government officials, coastal authorities, Pakistan Navy, representatives of the provincial government agencies of Sindh and Balochistan, private sector, NGOs, academia and research institutions has attended it.

Mr. Abu Ahmed Akif, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, emphasized successes of Ministry achieved and IUCN along with other investors. He also pointed out many coast related issues.

Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan, presented the background and context that led to the creation of the Mangroves for the Future programme (MFF). “NCB is a coordinating body and platform to all relevant coastal investors to discuss issues relating to coastal sustainability.” He stated that Ministry of Climate Change as well as the provincial government of Balochistan, with technical support given by IUCN collectively achieved declaration of Astola as Pakistan’s first marine protected area.” He advised for future initiatives about the coasts that climate change and groups be brought into consideration. GCF project of IUCN targeting along the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan for another five-year programme.

National Institution (NIO), explained that a survey will be launched using different maps of Sindh and Balochistan coasts, along the coast to obtain further data. “Research approves that human intrusion is sinking deltas 4 times quicker than the rise in sea level,” NIO added.

The representative of the National Institution (NIO) mentioning several studies that “Most deltas are unable to grow rapidly enough to keep pace with the rising sea level around the world are sinking. Similar issue at Indus Delta with many other factors, including human.” The NIO has project to gather data from coastal areas of Pakistan to find the causes and impacts of the sea interruption.

The reason behind declaration of Astola as a MpA was explained by representatives of the Balochistan Forest Department and said that process of developing a management plan for the island by organizations such as IUCN, the Ministry, NIO. “IUCN is organizing a workshop using a scientific approach and capitalizing on best practices from other parts of the world on Astola management planning and support from its regional and global technical expertise.

Details of the progress made under MFF in Pakistan and future plans were presented to Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, National Coordinator MFF Programme presented along with achievements like massive million mangroves plantation campaign in association with Pakistan Navy. He said efforts were made to declare Churna and Miana Hore as protected areas.

He informed that the MFF Programme was increasing capacity building of government, civil society, private sector and local communities and promoting investment in coastal resources conservation by its endowment program. MFF, a regional initiative taken after 2004 Tsunami, left many countries vulnerable to the rapid reduction of coastal resources.

MFF activities in Pakistan are being implemented through small and medium grant projects, open to a massive part including, governmental organizations, civil society, media, and academia, that are interested in implementing projects along the Pakistani coast. MFF is inclusive of all coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, seagrasses, and wetlands.

Ministry of Environment acts as the National Focal Agency for administering and guiding the implementation of project activities through IUCN in Pakistan.