APP85-11 ISLAMABAD: December 11 - Munir Ahmed, Director Pakistan Mountain Festival, delivering his lecture on engaging citizens for mountain conservation at the Islamabad youth hostel, organized by the Pakistan Youth Hostel Association to commemorate the International Mountain Day. APP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (APP):A special lecture was organized by the Pakistan Youth Hostels Association (PYHA) here on Tuesday in connection with the International Mountain Day (IMD).

Director Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and founder of the Pakistan Mountain Festival, Munir Ahmed, while addressing the occasion said, We will be starving if the mountains are not protected from over-exploitation, and steps are not taken to make the mountains and its people more resilient to the climate change. “We need to take care of the people before thinking of the mountains. If the custodians are not safe how they would protect the local resources of the mountains,” he remarked.
He said urbanization of the mountain destinations not only has threatened biodiversity but the indigenous cultures too.
He said every part of the mountain has a peculiar culture and a range of handicrafts and agri-products. We need to develop cultural marketing plans by engaging young and educated people in micro-enterprises.
Munir Ahmed said deforestation in the highlands has played havoc to the mountain ecology, natural habitats and the traditional life style of the natives.
It is alarming that the folk wisdom is vanishing with the wiping off the indigenous cultures. Many glaciers have disappeared and may are threatened to be melt.
The fast depleting glaciers have caused immense shortfall of water for domestic use as well as for agriculture.
If not taken care of the mountain ecology, the water shortage would lead to further productivity loss.
The immigration from mountains would further stress the urban economy.
He said, the indigenous people, youth and local products and agriculture is marred by the lack of resources.
The apathy of the mountain communities is that the policies are not implemented in letter and spirit.
The cartels and mafias are ruling the region without any rules of the state. The high peaks, nature and the indigenous cultures are the main attraction for the tourists, trekkers and mountaineers. So, the loss of the nature from the high lands would not only hammer the ecology and national economy but it would also lead the communities to suffer for their livelihoods.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion National Secretary PYHA Ambassador (Retd) Qazi Humayun said the Pakistan Youth Hostels Association was playing significant role in educating the youth on social and environmental issues.
Several PYHA hostels are situated in the mountain areas where the visiting youth is asked to adopt environmental friendly practices.
He said the mountain youth could lead the domestic tourism through their own micro-enterprises.