Tales from the Mountains

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Tales from the Mountains 

By Jamil Akhtar

The northern areas of Pakistan are amongst the most beautiful parts of our planet. Here, nature can be witnessed in all its might and glory. The remoteness of this region has added to its mystique and aided in the conservation of the environment to some extent. But this isolation has also caused more hardships for the inhabitants of this land and has hindered its development. 

UNDP has been very active in the northern parts of the country, including Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Gilgit Baltistan province. Its interventions have focused on the environment, disaster risk reduction, environmentally friendly tourism, empowering the people, and providing them with livelihoods.

The drastic changes in the climate are wreaking devastation on glaciers the world over and Pakistan is no exception. The melting glaciers create lakes that can overflow, and cause tremendous devastation to lives and property.

To prevent this from happening a project by the name of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF-I) was initiated a few years back by the Adaptation Fund. Now, with an investment of 36.9 million dollars by the Green Climate Fund,  GLOF-II is being implemented across the two provinces.

In addition to climate change, the increase in the human population has also adversely affected the environment. To reverse the effects of deforestation, thousands of poplar and fruit-bearing trees including cherry, apple, and apricot have been planted all over the northern areas.

These interventions have been managed through the Improvement of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNPproject (funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Government of Italy), and the Pakistan Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme– implemented through World Wide Fund for Nature and Snow Leopard Foundation.

Improving the living conditions of the people has had primary importance in UNDP’s efforts. The provision of clean drinking water is a very important aspect of these efforts. Numerous water treatment and purification plants and hydro-ram pumps have been installed and water supply schemes have been put into place in various villages. 

These initiatives of CKNP and CCAM-II projects have been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Government of Italy, and the Global Water Challenge (CocaCola Foundation)

Tales from the Mountains 

The author is an international award-winning writer, and photographer, currently working as a consultant for UNDP Pakistan

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