Flood damages three bridges in Bizin Gol

MoU inked to develop habitat plans in Chitral & GB

ISLAMABAD: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (Akah) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the office of sustainability, National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust), to develop sustainable habitat plans for disaster-prone valleys in northern Pakistan.

According to a press release issued by Nust, through the partnership Akah will collaborate with Nust to develop habitat plans for five valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral that are vulnerable to climate change induced disasters.

“The partners will conduct socioeconomic, cultural and environmental assessments and research to develop innovative contextual spatial plans with rigorous stakeholder participation. The habitat plans will provide a road map for all development partners and stakeholders to optimise resources and help build safe and resilient habitat where individuals, families and communities can thrive,” said the press release.

In his remarks, Dr Rizwan Riaz, pro-rector RIC Nust, said: “Embedding core principles of sustainability is one of the strategic aims of Nust. We aim to align all of Nust’s core functions i.e. academics and students’ engagement, research and innovation, operations and governance and stakeholders management with the UN SDGs thereby transforming Nust into an SDG-engaged, 4th generation university in Pakistan”.

Nawab Ali Khan, chief executive officer of Akah, said: “In the last few years, Pakistan has faced the worst impact of climate-induced disasters of its history. Precious lives have been lost, millions of people have become homeless and the country has suffered major economic losses.”

One of the accentuating causes is that people build on unsafe locations. Akah believes that this major loss and human suffering can be significantly reduced by building in locations that are safer and that provide future growth opportunities, he added.

Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the development of existing and future settlements is based on proper planning that incorporates scientific and indigenous knowledge. He said the partnership agreement between Nust and Akah will bring together the scientific and field-based knowledge to develop context-specific and research driven solutions in order to create resilient communities in Pakistan.

2 Replies to “MoU inked to develop habitat plans in Chitral & GB”

  1. The lesson from Strategy documents is that these are prepared to be shelved. The Provincial Conservation Strategy was a document developed with intensive stakeholder and community participation spending huge resources to complete the process. But not a word of that was ever implemented. This is nothing unusual because having these kind of grand strategies is an intellectual exercise and do not go beyond that. A strategy without the resources to back it is a useless exercise. In the field of development these kind of strategies are outdated. Instead an incremental and learning approach should be adopted to strategy making. Strategy in this sense would only be emergent and would arise from the interaction of the implementers in the field. It is for this reason that good institutions do not get into the exercise of developing strategies and its only after the event that they would be able to say what strategy was followed. They instead begin by working in the field and solving problems that communities face and let the strategy emerge from such an exercise.

  2. No action has been taken by the stakeholders on the recommendations of the research conducted for Booni township back in 2016. This is a valuable document sponsored by AKAH. In fact the major resourceful stakeholder is the government with civil bureaucracy at the helm of affairs. Many other valuable documents with clear road map for sustainable development have been shelved in the past simply because no one takes interest. For example, ‘ The Integrated Development Vision (IDV) for Chitral’ & ‘Chtral Development Strategy’ created with the support of IUCN and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Programme, to name a few, are nowhere under implementation. Put in hard technical work, prepare a nice document then shelf it and forget, is the norm we have seen. Can we learn a lesson.

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