GILGIT: Speakers at a consultative workshop here on Monday cautioned that owing to climate change and mega projects being launched under the CPEC the natural resources of Gilgit-Baltistan were under threat.
They urged the local community to support the institutions for better management of natural resources.
The event titled ‘customary laws and right use of natural resources in GB’ was organised by World Wide Fund for Natural Pakistan (WWF) in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS), a German entity working on managing natural resources.
GB forest conservator Khadim Abbas, wildlife and parks conservator Yaqub Ali Khan, a representative of GB Environmental Protection Agency, experts and conservation community members were in attendance.
The speakers said customary laws and signatory rules needed to incorporate conservation of endangered species and forests in the area.
They said that WWF and HBS had conducted a research to understand status of protection of national parks under GB Wildlife Act, 1975 and to highlight natural resource management customary laws practiced by local communities.
The findings of the research suggested that communities faithfully adhered to centuries-old practices, which had resulted in a staggering preservation of flora and fauna, maintaining biodiversity as well as saving endangered species found in the region, they explained.
The speakers said campaigns needed to be launched to create awareness among locals about importance of management of natural resources.
On the occasion, Danyor conservation committee chairman Haji Shifa said trees were being cut in the name of fallen trees without any check. Due to massive deforestation in GB, glaciers are shrinking and habitat of wildlife is decreasing, he warned.
Akhtar Riaz, a member of conservation committee Hainzal, said GB police officials were involved in illegal hunting of rare species.
Dr Mahjabeen, an adviser of HBS, expressed fear that if local communities did not play role in sustainable management of their natural resources, private sector would penetrate in the area and start plunder their rights.
She said medicinal, herbal and mineral resources needed to be protected from exploiters. WWF GB head Saeed Abbas called for putting in place a mechanism to integrate customary laws with signatory rules.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018