UN-IM Day Observed Conjointly by UNESCO-CIMR In Eco-sustainability Perspectives

Under the aegis of UNESCO-CIMR, an assembly of geo-environmental experts, officials, faculty researchers, students and participants from the civil society have shown critical concerns for eco-conservance and environmental sustainability.

Online PR News – 15-December-2013 –The United Nations General Assembly has designated December 11 as “International Mountain Day”. The specific day is celebrated worldwide each year since 2003 and is observed with a different theme pertinent to sustainable mountain development. This year, the theme was “Mountains---Key to a Sustainable Future”.

It has been realized that economic growth and poverty alleviation is highly associated with the sustainable use of mountainous areas.

With a key objective of the collaborative effort concerning UN-IM Day, Center for Integrated Mountain Research (CIMR), in collaboration with UNESCO chair at University of the Punjab, celebrates International Mountain Day, 2013 with a profound dedication. A week’s long ‘Mountain Day Celebrations’ have been organized to promote the task of eco-sustainability and sustainable mountain development.

During the week’s celebrations, participants commence to interact with local communities, officials and youth to enhance their understandings to disseminate experiences and work to relevant quarters as well as to address the real concerns.

A gathering of officials, faculty, researchers, students and participants from the civil society concerned in eco-conservance, environmental sustainability and development, organized multidisciplinary awareness sessions to highlight the ‘Mountains’ Role in Eco-sustainability’ and conveyed an obvious message to public that resource depletion, food, energy and most important water dearth will be crucial in the future due to ever increasing climate change.

The students and experts associated with CIMR programs dialoged with local communities in order to describe the developments of a resilient ecosystem that can improve the community’s' wellbeing.

In the keynote theme-lecture, Prof. Qadhi A.Z. Al-Hafi, accentuated on subsoil water toxicity hazards due to non eco-compatible sewage and drainage practices. "The environment of the planet in its totality, is on stake, due to lethal vulnerabilities of under-ground water reserves, and its repercussion for human life and other living organisms would be disastrous”,asserted the keynote theme speaker Prof. Qadhi A. Z. Al Hafi.

Under the aegis of UNESCO, the event of UN-IM day held at the University of Punjab. It was attended by several academicians including the Lt. Col. Mir Pervez Khurshid, Dr. Fraz Mian Bhatti, Mr. B. A. Shakir, Dr. Ashraf Ch., Mr. Muhammad Ikram, Ms. Rehana Jamal, Ms. Rabia Faridi, Ms. Dua, Ms. Rabia Niazi, Rana Atif and other researchers from different disciplines. Premeditated by director CIMR Dr. Khalida Khan, the UN-IMD’s scientific sessions were presided over by the principal theme-speaker Prof. Qadhi Aurangzeb Al Hafi.

In his keynote theme-lecture, Qadhi Prof.Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi accentuated on subsoil water toxicity hazards due to non eco-compatible sewage and drainage practices. "The environment of the planet, in its totality, is on stake due to lethal vulnerabilities of under-ground water reserves and its repercussion for living organisms would be disastrous” asserted the keynote theme speaker. Qadhi Professor Dr Aurangzeb Hafi, who is sturdily on an academic demonstrations continuum of ‘Inter-referential Theory of Embryonic Toxicity’ and ‘Trans-positional Model of Teratogenesis. Professsor Hafi’s polygonal demonstrative continuum that started at Dow Universuty of Health Sciences by Dec. 3—the ‘UN’s International Day for Disability Observance’, also brought into the academia’s as well as public attention, the critical issue of different types of teratogens and the complex phenomenon of teratogenicity that is responsible for various types of multiple disabilities at pre-birth stages as well as in newly born babies. He assertively identified and affirmed the sub-soil hydro-toxicity to be a potential teratogen in the developing countries like Pakistan, where these ecologically incompatible sewerage-drainage practices are deemed as legal developments, and there exist no measures and regulatory policy frameworking to restrict the same. He stressed the need to tackle the growing impact of inner and outer environmental toxicity, in a broader perspectives in compliance with UN conventions on the subject-matters under discussion.

UNESCO chair holder at P.U. Dr. Khalida Khan, Director CIMR said that mountain socio ecological and cultural landscapes are at present facing fast changes. The Chair highlighted the increased occurrence of floods, faster glaciers melting, insecurity of water availability, and extraordinary degradation of the entire mountain fragile landscape.

Dr. Khalida Khan, also highlighted the role of academia and science in understanding the rising impacts of climate change at national, regional, sub regional and global scale and demand for lowland (Plain areas) countries and communities to join hand in adaptation measures in mountains. She also put emphasis on the significance of such theme-oriented awareness events. It is urgent to continue the drive cultivate at Rio+20 to more mountain interests in every global environmental conventions.

A documentary highlighting the development issues of mountainous areas of Pakistan along with an interactive sharing regarding Satoyama Initiative and sustainable development was piloted at the University of Punjab, Pakistan.

The fast retreating glaciers in the HKH region is of great concern to Pakistan’s agro-economy. Glaciers are the perennial source of water supply to the Indus system. Our rivers are in danger and may change into non-perennial streams in the near future.

The extensive melt of glaciers (>50%) and climate change is the alarming bell for more devastation in the shape of water crisis, droughts, famines, great change in the ecology of flora and fauna. The average annual flow of Indus River from 1922 to 1961 was 93 MAF, which reduced to 48 MAF in 2001-02 which shows alarming reduction in the Indus river discharge.

There is a serious threat of accelerated deforestation and forest degradation in many parts of the country in the wake of rising population and associated wood demands, weak governance of tenure, encroachments and land cover changes superimposed by adverse impacts of climate change.

In Pakistan, no such effort to address the challenges has been made by any agency because of non-availability of professional staff in the field of glaciology.
Centre for Integrated Mountain Research is based in Lahore associated with a field station at Khanspur, Ayubia.

It is matter of great rectitude that considering the importance of CIMR objectives, UNESCO has established a Chair at PU that has opened various avenues for joint collaboration.

CIMR is engaged in various activities in mountainous areas of Pakistan such as conservation of medicinal herbs and aromatic plants, ecotourism, rangeland conservation, biodiversity conservation, glacial studies, Geo-environmental challenges, socio-economic impact of climate change, and geographical information systems and remote sensing and of course Capacity building with special attention to community participation. Pakistan as one of the main partner of HKH region and famous as a water tower is exciting opportunity for exploring novel biodiversity and ecotourism. There is a great need to give awareness for an equilibrium approach linking conservation and development. Stability of fragile mountain ecosystems is very much linked with the globalization and climate change phenomenon that has a great impact on the livelihoods of mountain people.

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