Conservation in Pakistan acquires more funding

AN AMOUNT of US$5 million has been approved for Mountain Areas Conservancy Project, a joint venture of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Ministry of Environment, to provide sustainable financing to local communities for environmental protection.

The project, Mountain Area Conservation Fund (MACF), has been established in the four mountain area conservancies of Nanga Parbat, Gojal, Trimichir and Qashqar in Northern Areas and North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Ecotourism Society Pakistan said it hopes that the amount will help to stop massive logging going around Fairy Meadows. Pakistan has received millions of dollars from foreign donors however environment degradation is increasing day by day.

The fund has been incorporated as a not for profit–Company Limited by Guarantee–under Section 42 of the Companies Act 1984.

The board of directors consists of equal representation from government, civil society, local mountain area communities and UNDP. Initial funding of $1.5 has been provided by GEF and $0.75 by UNDP. UNDP and the government of Pakistan believe that the MACF will be of great benefit to the country in the long term as the mountain areas contribute considerably to the national wealth.

Contributions from the federal government, NWFP and the government of Northern Areas have already been committed.

UNDP chief environmentalist Arif Alauddin said the fund is a unique example of how to provide stable funding for conservation activities undertaken by local communities which aren’t linked to government budget cycles.  He believes it will also help support law enforcement activities to ensure compliance with environmental protection regulations agreed between the local people and the government departments responsible for oversight of development activities.

The fund will also help cover costs of technical assistance to communities, awareness raising and environmental education.

The board of directors also adopted a company seal and appointed Dr. Muhammad Khurshid as Company Secretary and Dr. Bashir Wani (IG Forests) as the chief executive of the Mountain Area Conservation Fund.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
author: Agha Iqrar Haroon
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