World Wetlands Day 1999 in Pakistan
Activities reported for World Wetlands Day 1999
Greetings from Karachi. Hope all is well with you and the gang. I promised Rebecca that I'd get back to you guys with a report on the WWD activities here in Pakistan.
First of all, WWF-Pakistan announced that is establishing a Wetland Centre next to Sandspit beach (semi-arid mangrove backwaters), outside the Karachi city limits . On behalf of IUCN Pakistan I attended the relatively high-profile foundation-laying ceremony, which was held at the site this past Saturday 30 January. It is envisaged that this wetland centre will disseminate information regarding wetlands, bringing people closer to this ecosystem and educating the general public, who visit the Karachi beaches in huge numbers. The centre also will enable people to learn about wetland ecology and the issues arising from the exploitation of wetlands.
WWF plans to recruit at least four full time, fully trained staff at the premises when it formally opens in June 1999. The centre, which is still under construction, will feature an extensive print and audiovisual library, featuring articles, books, journals, photographs, and documentaries. This project has been made possible through the support of the Netherlands Development Assistance. For more info, contact: Mr. Syed Najam Khurshid, Conservation Director, WWF-Pakistan (who says 'hello' to Tim Jones, whom he knows during his time in IWRB Slimbridge,UK).
On February 2 (WWD), IUCN-Pakistan's Coastal Ecosystems Unit organised an informal talk and excursion to the coastal wetlands (semi-arid mangroves known as Korangi/Phitti creeks) and adjoining freshwater wetlands. The venue was the large coastal fishing village of Rehri (pop. 25,000), 30 kilometres southwest of Karachi, where 15 journalists from the Sindhi and Urdu press were briefed about World Wetlands Day, the significance of wetland resources to the fishing communities and to human livelihood, and the role of the Ramsar Convention at the national level. There was substantial NGO/CBO interest both at the grassroots level as well at higher levels, since officers from the federally administered Sindh Forestry and Wildlife department were present and the Deputy Director of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency gave a briefing on one of the largest freshwater lakes (not yet a Ramsar site), Manchar Lake in Dadu district, Sindh Province.
Junior Programme Development Officer
IUCN-The World Conservation Union
1 Bath Island Road, Karachi-75530 PAKISTAN