Restoring and Protecting Pakistan’s Environment – Way Forward towards “Only One Earth”

KARACHI— To mark the celebrations of World Environment Day 2022, the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) organised an Interactive Webinar on June 6, 2022. On the theme “Resorting and Protecting Pakistan’s Environment-Way Forward Toward ‘Only One Earth’.” Senator Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Climate Change, graced the occasion as a Chief Guest.

Protection of the environment and natural resources is critical to sustaining life, and in order to do so, we need to act fast. As a whole, all components of society must act and join hands in preserving our environment. She went on to say that we must be critically aware of our individual and collective roles in preventing the earth from becoming inhabitable.She said that three key challenges: pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change, are the most important issues Pakistan needs to focus on. She said Pakistan is one of the ten most vulnerable countries in the world. Our glaciers are rapidly melting. The Indus, which is the jugular of the river system and feeds 90% of our agricultural sector, which coincidentally uses 85% of Pakistan’s total water supply, is rapidly drying. The UN has predicted we will be water-scarce by 2025. This is not some remote future; rather, it is a looming crisis.

While speaking on the occasion, Director General NIMA, Vice Admiral (R) Abdul Aleem HI (M), said that the year 2022 is a historic milestone for the global environmental community as it marks 50 years since 1972’s United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm with the slogan “Only One Earth”. The idea behind repeating the theme this year is to draw inspiration from the true spirit of the global leadership’s commitments made half a century ago and to reflect on our actions.He said that the goals of poverty alleviation and environmental protection are closely linked and pave the way for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, there is a dire need to have a balanced approach towards economic development while keeping in view the sustainability of the environment as well as other awareness activities.

The guest speakers, having vast experience on the subject, delivered their valuable talks. Ms. Farzana Altaf Shah, DG Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency, said the government is taking significant initiatives to address the environmental challenges, but we need support from all walks of life. Prof. Dr. Zahoor Ahmed Bazai, Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Shams (Institute of Environmental Studies, Karachi University), Mahmood Akhter Cheema (Country Representative, IUCN), and Dr. Salma Hamza (HOD Earth and Environment Sciences, Bahria University, Karachi Campus). shared their perspectives on collective actions for environmental protection and restoration.

Cdre (R) Ali Abbas SI (M), Director of NIMA-K, said that NIMA will continue to play its role in creating awareness through active advocacy and maritime research.

The event was attended by a large number of eminent personalities, experts, government officials, and faculty members. Students and key maritime stakeholders In the end, the DG NIMA, Vice Admiral (retd) Abdul Aleem HI (M), thanked the chief guest speakers and participants for their interest and appreciated the team NIMA Karachi headed by Cdre (Retd) Ali Abbas for making this event rewarding and successful. He assured us that NIMA will continue to conduct more informative webinars and activities.