Students celebrate northern Pakistan’s unique biodiversity and cultures on International Mountain DayDec 11, 2017
11 December 2017, Islamabad—International Mountain Day was celebrated today at an event organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, with cultural performances, film screenings and talks about Pakistan’s mountain communities and held at the Pakistan National Council of Arts. The celebration was inaugurated by Syed Abu Ahmad Akif Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, under the theme “Mountains under Pressure: Climate, Hunger, and Migration”.
“Pakistan’s mountainous regions are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful environments in the world, but they are also extremely susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Mountain communities have an important role in preserving these delicate landscapes and exploiting them sustainably to earn livelihoods in harmony with nature,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne.
The aim of the event was to highlight Pakistan’s unique mountain cultures, their rich traditions and environment, as well as the threats they face. Amidst folk music and handicraft displays, students from the National University of Science and Technology, Bahria University, and Fatima Jinnah Women’s University participated in a documentary competition, short plays and mime performances. Women entrepreneurs and civil society representatives working in these areas also shared their stories.
Mountains cover about 175,000 square kilometres of Pakistan’s land area. In addition to its rich biodiversity, this northern region is home to many culturally unique communities. Although some 11 percent of the mountains are now protected, and a further 12 percent are community co-managed conservancies, the region’s biodiversity and culture are threatened by poverty, limited options for sustainable development, and climate change. UNDP’s Mountains and Markets initiative seeks to promote conservation by increasing demand and voluntary certification of sustainable non-timber forest products. UNDP also helps mountain communities protect themselves against potentially devastating glacial lake outburst flooding.
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