4th Pakistan Mountain Festival

K2 EXPEDITION

By M.Saeed Yousafzai

The Heritage Museum of the Lok Virsa opens its doors for an exhibition of photographs highlighting the important features of the interventions in the Karakoram by the Italian expeditions and the projects. Raffaele Del Cima, the Project Director SEED and Country Operations Director EvK2CNR, inaugurated the exhibition on Monday that was arranged in connection with the 4th Pakistan Mountain Festival, an annual advocacy and outreach festival by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan). This time the core partners of the festival are Directorate of Sports and Culture of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Lok Virsa, and the GLOF project of the UNDP and Climate Change Division. Speaking on the occasion, Raffaele said Pakistan owns three wonderful mountain ranges that are full of natural resources that can bring prosperity to the country only if managed adequately. The Italian scientists, researchers are providing technical support to the federal and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to manage it resources for the better life and livelihood of their people upstream and downstream. With the increasing threat of climate change, our responsibility has increased manifold to work together to combat the challenges, he said.   While introducing the exhibition, Munir Ahmed, Director Pakistan Mountai Fstival said, Over 50 large sized panels are put on display to represents some glimpses of the region where the Italian have their major interventions in our mountain region. Central Karakoram National Park was notified in 1992, but all the development in Park was done just in the recent years under the framework of Pakistan-Italy Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA).” Ahmed said, the environmental hazardous in our mountain region has direct link with poverty in the area. We believe that to tackle challenges of climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, sustainable livelihood and solid waste management in Pakistan’s high lands require political will, mobilization of key stakeholders, sensitization of public and engagement of the communities for reducing vulnerability and the efficient management of natural resources. Munir Ahme said, the Pakistan Mountain Festival was founded to meet the need of a forum that could play a junction for the mountain communities especially youth and women, experts, government departments, development partners and donors and other stakeholders to interact each other in frank and open environment to discuss the progress and review the way forward annually to implement the policies and plans of action with necessary amendments if they collectively think so. Over a dozen partners are playing their role to make the 4th edition of the Pakistan Mountain Festival a success, and they include CDA, Lok Virsa, GLOF project of UNDP-Govt of Pakistan, Rupani Foundation, AKRSP, SEED project, EvK2CNR, ICIMOD, Sustainable Tourism Foundation and the Adventurer Club. He said, “The environmental advocacy organizations in Pakistan has been celebrating the International Mountain Day individually but in 2009 DEVCOM-Pakistan initiated the idea of Pakistan Mountain Festival to mark the International Mountain Day jointly and successfully arranged several activities so far. Talking about the objectives of the festival, Munir said “the festival is all set to promote the concept of ‘working together’ for mainstreaming the climate change threats facing our frontlines, and conservation of biological diversity and forests and its role in life downstream, and to bring different stakeholders and youth together for large number of activities and for the larger and lasting impact and thirdly to showcase the culture and livelihood and ecosystem services of our mountains.”

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