Govt striving to protect bio-diversity and ecosystems in the country- Marriyum

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APP104-22 ISLAMABAD: May 22 - Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for IB&NH speaking at a function held in connection with International Biodiversity Day on the theme of "Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism". APP

ISLAMABAD, May 22 (APP): State Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Monday said that the government was striving to protect bio-diversity and ecosystems as well as to promote tourism in the country through various initiatives.
She was speaking at a function in connection with International Biodiversity Day with the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” organized by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change and Serena Hotels.
The minister said that the government was working on different projects to promote biodiversity and lay foundation of a viable andever growing ecotourism in the country .She appreciated the work done by IUCN and other stakeholders to have the Astola Island in Balochistan which is known for its rare species of turtles and coral reef—declared as the first protected marine area of Pakistan.
The minister said the biodiversity day reminded of the critical support that nature provided in maintaining the ecosystem. She said Pakistan with its diverse natural features must focus on encouraging tourism by giving high priority to conservation of biodiversity.
Pakistan was celebrating 2017 as year of tourism to project and rejoice its rich natural diversity and ecosystems, she added.
The MOS said that Pakistan was endowed with immense natural resources, different kinds of weather systems and varied landscape.
Marriyum urged IUCN and World Wide Fund (WWF) to prepare documentaries based on indigenous content depicting richness of the landscape of Pakistan and collaborate with Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan to air them for the benefit of the public and creating awareness about the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems. PTV and Radio Pakistan were already airing programmes related to government’s Vision 2025 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),she informed.
The minister said that Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had helped in setting up Parliament’s task force to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She revealed that provincial governments were also working on various projects to boost tourism, adding Green Climate Fund would support environmental and tourist projects and award scholarships to students who were studying subjects related to ecology and environment.
She emphasised that media and organizations working in the field of environment should help create awareness among masses about the importance of preserving environment. She said biodiversity and tourism were closely linked and biodiversity also had a role in increasing economic growth and creating jobs in local communities.
The minister said tourism had been badly affected in the country inthe
last 35 years due to terrorism. However it had witnessed a revival during the last four years owing to the interventions by the federal and provincial
governments to check the phenomenon of terrorism in its tracks, she added.
She said similarly sports and cultural activities had also been revived.
Marriyum said that national parks in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, China, United Kingdom, United States and Hong Kong were important components of ecosystem and were vital to sustain tourism industry.
The minister said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif wasfond of tourism and encouraged projects related to biodiversity.
She said that the huge investment made by the federal government in improving infrastructure, information technology and connecting various regions of Pakistan with each other as well as with the outside world would bring huge dividends for the tourism industry, which could now benefit from the conducive environment in the country.
Advisor to Prime Minister for Climate Change Syed Rizwan Mehboob, Global Vice President IUCN Malik Amin Aslam, Country Director Italy’s Agency for Development Cooperation in Pakistan Santa Mole and Inspector General Forest, Ministry of Climate ChangeSyed Mahmood Nasir also expressed views on biodiversity and ecosystems of Pakistan.