Three major mountain ranges, Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush come together in northern Pakistan and are rich in biodiversity. These represent an ecosystem that is a lifeline for not only people living in mountainous areas, but millions of others who live downstream through majestic glacial bodies that are an important source of fresh water, and therefore deserve to be protected from existing and potential threats, both human-induced and natural. Effective approach worldwide in protecting and preserving ecosystems is through a network of protected areas.
Central Karakorum National Park (CKNP) has been the focus of the Pakistan-Italy Debt for Development Swap Agreement (PIDSA). After five years of research and field investigations, a management plan was developed, later followed by an operational plan. Subsequently, both documents received official approval from the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Government in 2015.
However, there is a further need to consolidate the operations of the CKNP, incorporating strategies to cope with emerging challenges such as growing pressures on natural resources by local communities and increasing climate variability. Findings and experiences from CKNP would be used as a model for other protected areas in Pakistan and elsewhere, particularly the Deosai National Park (DNP) with varying geo-physical properties, natural resources and pressures.