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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Launch of Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan

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Islamabad: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close collaboration with the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), Government of Gilgit Baltistan and EvK2CNR Italy presented the Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan. This initiative marks a significant step forward in understanding and preserving Pakistan’s invaluable glacial resources.

Participating in the launch event were Mr. Abrar Ahmed Mirza, Chief Secretary, Gilgit Baltistan and other key stakeholders from the government, the development sector and academia. The event was hosted by H.E. Madam Marilina Armellin, Ambassador of Italy, at the Italian Residence in Islamabad.

The Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Ms. Marilina Armellin, was extremely pleased to see the project “Glaciers and Students” come to fruition. She stated: “Italy’s long-standing tradition of scientific glacier studies in Pakistan goes back to 1929 when Prof. Ardito Desio founded EvK2-CNR. Having cultivated this legacy for almost a century, EvK2-CNR has conducted, with the invaluable support of the Italian Cooperation Agency-AICS and UNDP, the remarkably important study “Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan” that we are proud to present today. The study, with its invaluable inventory of data, will undoubtedly strengthen the capacity of local institutions for future planning in the field of climate hazards mitigation. It will also help ensure food security for local communities through the conservation of water resources for agriculture. The Government of Italy will continue to support the Pakistani Government’s efforts in fighting climate change, protecting vulnerable communities and ensuring food security”.

Dr. Samuel Rizk, the Resident Representative of UNDP Pakistan, emphasized that “The development of the Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan, cataloging over 13,000 glaciers, is an important building block for informed decision-making within the government institutions ultimately supporting Pakistan to increase its preparedness for climate change-induced disasters”. He further added, “UNDP is grateful for Italy’s support to improve the management of protected areas, promote innovative and local solutions, generate livelihood opportunities and uplift the economies of local communities in Pakistan’s mountainous regions.”

Mr. Agostino Da Polenza, the President of EvK2CNR Italy presented the Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan, followed by a presentation by the Glaciers & Students Project Manager Mr. Maurizio Gallo and his team of experts. Mr. Francesco Zatta, Head of Office, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Islamabad affirmed that “AICS Islamabad is firmly committed to strengthening the resilience and adaptation to climate change and natural disaster management within vulnerable communities of Pakistan. Our portfolio approach is based on three pillars that aim to mitigate the impact of climate change, enhance food security, and foster economic development with a focus on job creation. In all our projects, we strive to facilitate partnership and ownership. Glaciers and Students is a virtuous example of this development approach, putting at the core of our interventions an invaluable resource such as glaciers, by fostering knowledge and optimizing their management. We will uphold our commitment by implementing a new program that recognizes the critical role of water for development in Gilgit Baltistan.”

The Glaciers Inventory of Pakistan comprehensively maps and assesses the state of more than 13000 glaciers across the country, utilizing cutting-edge technology and scientific methodologies. This inventory will provide policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders with essential data to formulate evidence-based strategies for glacier conservation, water resource management, and climate adaptation.

During the launch event, attendees had the opportunity to hear about the methodology employed in the inventory, the key findings, and the implications for environmental conservation efforts in Pakistan. Participants appreciated the support of the Italian Embassy, AICS Islamabad, UNDP and EvK2CNR Italy in realizing this initiative and their commitment to safeguarding Pakistan’s natural heritage for present and future generations.

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