Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Thar Foundation – the CSR arm of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) – & International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) along with Baahn Beli, showcased their conservation efforts in Tharparkar at the Asian Regional Forum on Conservation held earlier today in Islamabad. The 3-day event which is being attended by over 400 international and national delegates comprises insightful discussions and sessions aimed at forwarding the agenda of conservation of nature across Pakistan. The Congress was inaugurated by H.E the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, who applauded the role of the participating organizations and IUCN in working towards creating a sustainable and a bio-diverse future.
SECMC & Thar Foundation are jointly showcasing their work on the environment at the forum through unique projects such as Gorrano wetlands; bio-saline agriculture; Thar Million Tree Program; and Aqua-culture pilots. Thar Foundation & SECMC have initiated these projects under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations where together they are working to create sustainable communities by taking care of life on land and promoting natural habitats such as Gorrano which offer nesting grounds & safe habitats to various species of birds. In addition, the Foundation has also initiated unique experiments targeted at bio-saline agriculture pilots which have the potential to provide food security to the Thari communities and their livestock. The fish-farming project in the desert is another exceptional project where fish is being produced in Gorrano pond and the harvested fish is used for community nutrition program. To date over 12,000 Kgs (300 maunds) of fish have been distributed amongst the communities of Thar Block II.
The forum was attended by various dignitaries including former Senator Javed Jabbar; noted Ornithologist Z B Mirza; CEO SECMC/TF Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi; Environmentalist Afia Salam; Mahmood Akhtar Cheema (Country Director IUCN); Secretary Forest and Wildlife Sindh A Rahim Soomro and KAMLA Bai, social activist of Tharparkar. Speaking at the occasion, Javed Jabbar said that vultures play a pivotal role in ecosystem which is on rapid decline in Sindh. He appreciated the valuable initiative of SECMC, IUCN and Banh Beli to conserve vultures in Tharparkar. Prof. Dr. Z. B. Mirza, stated that Gorrano has fast emerged as a habitat for vanishing vulture and several migratory bird species and is proving to be a veritable nesting ground for various birds that have started visiting the wetland. He also strongly urged the Government to declare Gorrano as a protected area for vultures and ensure inter-departmental coordination for their conservation. Secretary Forest and Wildlife of Sindh, A Rahim Soomro, who was also present during the conference took note of Z. B. Mirza’s point and assured that the Government of Sindh will declare Gorrano as protected area.
The conference which is expected run for three days will see multiple discussions and side-events aimed at enhancing awareness of general public on conservation efforts and promote partnerships to deploy safe and sustainable ecosystems.