International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company launched the second phase of their partnership in Thar, focusing on improving community livelihoods and biodiversity conservation, in a ceremony.
The launching ceremony was attended by MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro, senior officials from the government, as well as by representatives of the development sector, academia, media and the private sector, according to a IUCN spokesman.
The programme follows an earlier project on vulture conservation and the first-ever ecological survey of Thar in Sindh.
Addressing the ceremony as the chief guest, MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro appreciated the role private sector had been playing in the development of Thar, and said:
“I am encouraged to note that IUCN and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) are taking forward their partnership into the next phase – and working towards improving the livelihoods of the communities and conservation in Thar.”
He said: “The progress of the Thar coal energy is a clear reflection of our commitment to the people, and we hope we will together bring about betterment for the people of Thar in particular and the province in general.”
“SECMC has created a wonderful example by not only responding to the energy needs of the people but it has at the same time, created thousands of opportunities for both men and women of Thar.”
CEO of SECMC Amir Iqbal said that the company, while on the one hand, was trying to meet the energy needs of the country, it was also responsibly doing so such that it maintained a balance between development and environment while also catering to the basic needs of the communities under its sustainability approach.
Country Representative of IUCN Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said in his welcome remarks, that “IUCN, which works on nature conservation, has joined hands with SECMC to work towards protecting the fauna and flora or Thar and also to create innovative techniques to improve livelihoods of Thari communities.”