ISLAMABAD: Before a new national wildlife policy can be formed, it was imperative that all other forest policies in the country are reviewed.
This was stated by stakeholders during a consultation on the National Wildlife Policy at the Ministry of Climate Change on Tuesday. The meeting had been chaired by Inspector General Forest Syed Mehmood Nasir.
Nasir disclosed that the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Pakistan (IUCNP) had agreed to hold a consultative workshop on the National Wildlife Policy. IUCNP country representative Mehmood Akhtar Cheema said that they have prepared a concept note for the consultative workshop.
However, he pointed out that before formulating the wildlife policy, all other policies including those for forests, climate change and wetlands must be reviewed first to formulate National Wild Life Policy.
Forests IG urged the IUCN to invite all stakeholders in the workshop, including representatives from the fisheries, tourism and customs departments.
It was further suggested that the defence ministry can be asked to nominate their representatives to attend the meeting so that they can be consulted on wildlife issues in areas which fall under the control of the forces.
Dr Ali Nawaz from the Snow Leopard Trust pointed out that when formulating the new policy, stakeholders must consider human-wildlife conflict as part of it.
He stressed the importance of the issue, noting that it was something which can be found in all the provinces and with development increasing, this is set to rise over time.
“It should be given due importance,” Dr Nawaz stressed.
He also pointed to the lack of job opportunities for students who opt for professional wildlife studies. The Snow Leopard Trust official urged the stakeholder to develop linkages with the academics, researchers and students of wildlife to create a harmonious ecosystem beneficial to all.
It was decided to distribute a ‘zero-draft’ among all stakeholders in which they will incorporate their comments in writing for the next meeting.
Earlier, IG Forest Nisar and participants approved the minutes of the previous meeting. He told the participants that climate change ministry secretary had dispatched letters to all provinces as a reminder to submit their comments.
Most of the provinces had responded positively to the letter and submitted their comments. Sindh, though, was the only exception.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Wildlife Department, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Wildlife Department, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan, K-P Forest Department, Punjab Wildlife Department and officers of the ministry.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2018.
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