With last month’s devastating Indian Ocean tsunami giving added urgency to environmental protection, the United Nations and its partners today officially opened the first biodiversity park of its kind in the world in Morgah, Pakistan.
“In Asia and Pacific, conservation of biodiversity has assumed renewed importance after the recent tsunami which destroyed considerable parts of the region’s reserves of biodiversity such as forests, fish stocks, coral reefs and mangrove swamps,” the Executive Secretary of the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Kim Hak-Su, told the gathering.
“Efforts like the one in Morgah can serve as models for restoring the biodiversity of devastated countries and help prevent further loss of the sustainable livelihoods of the people,” he added.
The Morgah Biodiversity Park Project, the brainchild of ESCAP, brings together participants from the private sector, national and local governments, and the local community and aims to conserve endangered and important flora and fauna of the Pothwar region of Pakistan by ex-situ methods, creation of awareness and dissemination of information on biodiversity conservation.
A part of ESCAP's Pro-Poor Public Private Partnership for poverty reduction, it follows the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mr. Kim commended the Government of Pakistan and Attock Refinery Limited for the bold steps they had taken in pioneering this first public-private partnership in providing the poor with access to biodiversity.
Also participating in the launch were Pakistani Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and the Chief Executive Officer of Attock Refinery Limited, M. Raziuddin.