KARACHI - Like other coastal areas of the Sindh province, the coastal areas of the Balochistan are facing numerous challenges due to variety of detrimental elements which may impact both environment and developmental activities, that need immediate attention to address their environmental issues and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to local communities living there.

This was stated by representatives of WWF-Pakistan and Balochistan Coastal Development Authority (BCDA) during signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday.

The MoU aims at conservation, sharing information and developing joint programs for well-being of the coastal communities in Balochistan. Under this MoU, both organisations would work together in development and implementation of policies related to coastal areas through consultative process while seeking inputs from various stakeholders.

They would also collaborate in conservation measures including development of eco-tourism in coastal areas of Balochistan. They would jointly organise consultation programs for building their institutional capacity and share available information to broaden their knowledge base.

Since WWF-Pakistan has a database of climate change related issues of Balochistan with its focus on Jiwani which will be shared with BCDA for the developmental of Model City at Jiwani. WWF-Pakistan will also provide technical assistance for ensuring development in an environmentally sound manner and incorporating protection of natural habitat and conservation of fauna and flora especially threatened and vulnerable species.

Speaking on the occasion Rab Nawaz, Regional Director, WWF-Pakistan, pointed out that the coastal areas of Balochistan are facing numerous challenges due to variety of detrimental elements which may impact both environment and developmental activities. He further said that improved communication among various stakeholders, especially among line departments, communities and conservation organisations is required to address these challenges. ‘Keeping in consideration these issues, WWF-Pakistan and BCDA have decided to collaborate to improve cross-stakeholders communication to take concerted measures for improving overall situation in the coastal areas of Balochistan’ he added.

While Maj (R) Akbar Lashari, Director General, BCDA said that BCDA has developed a plan for infrastructural development in the area and would support economic activities along Balochistan coast. He further said that a number of projects for livelihood development of coastal communities are being implemented by BCDA. Briefing about BCDA, he also said that it was established in 2001 to ensure development in the coastal area of Balochistan especially establishment of fish landing centers, improvement of coastal towns and road networks, promotion of fish/shrimp farming, supporting coastal tourisms and other economic activities. ‘Through this MOU both the organisations will work towards sustainable development and would ensure that the coastal environment is fully protected’, he added.

Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Advisor (Marine Fisheries) pointed out that WWF-Pakistan has a wide network of community based organizations in coastal areas, which promises an opportunity for BCDA to solicit grassroots inputs on fisheries sector policies and planning, thus making it more effective and acceptable. He further said that this MOU will ensure protection of biodiversity and marine environment along Balochistan coast.