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KU, UNESCO Thailand urges for conservation of mangrove ecosystem


KARACHI: Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan Institute for Sustainable Halophyte Utilization (ISHU), University of Karachi and UNESCO Thailand jointly held an online forum to discuss and highlights issues related to the mangroves ecosystem on Tuesday.

The third Mekong Mangrove Forum was organized online due to COVID-19 pandemic safety precautions. The organizers included UNESCO, UN Redd Programme, Manfred Hermsen Stiftung, Fauna and Flora International, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Conservation Foundation and the United Nations Association of Pakistan.

The speakers said, “Mangroves are vital blue carbon ecosystems that have been damaged and degraded worldwide”.

“To preserve what remains and restore what we have lost is critical for environmental values, the communities that depend on these ecosystems as homes and economic resources, and indeed for humanity, as we all rely on carbon sinks to curb the climate crisis,” it added.

A multi-disciplinary set of presentations highlighted the need to conserve and restore blue carbon ecosystems, as well as new opportunities for action and partnership approaches.

They observed that mangrove loss is still a serious problem in many countries and demanded to stop it with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, participants were informed about a new book series, spearheaded by KU ISHU in Pakistan and would be published at Springer Nature in the Netherlands, ‘Blue Carbon Ecosystem for Sustainable Development’.

The organizers shared that this book would provide a new medium for high-quality scientific publications dealing with conservation concerning, restoration and scientific research into blue carbon ecosystems.

The editor-in-chief and the Director KU ISHU Professor Dr Bilquees Gul said that this series will provide comprehensive scientific documentation inspiring the way forward on how to sustainably utilize and conserve saline resources in the best interest of humanity.

She mentioned that the next needed steps are to foster academic research and networking, involve land-users, politicians, development banks, innovative farmers, investors, energy-producers, and carbon-off-setters to get involved. She added that this Blue Carbon ecosystem for Sustainable Development series will have different seven volumes.

Professor Dr Bilquees Gul shared that UNESCO has developed an open science online platform “QUEST4ACTION”, which was made available to the organizers, supporters and other partners, all of whom have important information on mangroves to be shared.

She further said that QUEST4ACTION has a mechanism to promote emerging green economies by augmenting knowledge, networking and skills for good environmental management, with a focus on solving ongoing global crises related to the Sustainable Development Goals, such as biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution and water-related calamities.

The Forum was made possible thanks to the contributions and support from singer-songwriter Charlie Winston, International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Mangrove Action Project, Succow Stiftung, International Union for Conservation of Nature and others.

The event was held in celebration of International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. Almost 600 people attended the event of which more than 300 persons participated online, with an additional 10 people were part of the in-person panel in Bangkok, Thailand.

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