Alpine model for Gilgit-Baltistan development suggested

18 December 2008
The Dawn
Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Gilgit: A two-day workshop on “Regional Development Practices and Experiences in Alpine Europe; Lessons for High Asian Mountain regions” concluded in Gilgit with the recommendations to develop synergies among development actors in Karakoram-Hindukush-Himalaya and Pamir (KHHP) regions for the sustainable development of the marginalized mountain communities. The workshop was organized by the participants of the one year International leadership training programmes from Gilgit-Baltistan conducted by InWEnt-Capacity Building International in the Alpine Europe Regions with the collaboration of AKRSP. The main objective of the workshop was to share best practices and experiences from Alpine Europe with development actors in Gilgit-Baltistan and discuss mechanisms to implement these models in Karakoram-Himalaya-Hindukush and Pamir (KHHP) regions for sustainable development. The sessions were participated by 30 high officials and representatives from Government, NGOs, Conservation Committees and local support organizations in Gilgit-Baltistan. The workshop comprised presentations and case studies from Alpine Europe and trans-border and community-based initiatives among the mountain communities in the region. Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Social Sector Development Manager, KADO briefed the participants regarding the model of Alpine Convention signed among the eight European countries for the sustainable development of the Alpine communities. Mussarat Parveen, Institutional Development Officer, AKRSP presented the model of Commission of International for Protection of Alps (CIPRA) and Alps Networks with the participants as a lesson for developing networks among the mountain communities in KHHP regions. Yasir Hussain, Deputy Director Tourism Department Northern Areas, shared with the participants the concept of integrated tourism and the recommendations of the Tourism workshop conducted in Gilgit and Kashghar, China this year under InWEnt mountain programme. He said the recommendations have been sent to federal government for approval and implementations. Shirazullah Baig, Project Coordinator presented the experiences of the trans-border park project implemented by IUCN in partnership with ICIMOD, Ev-K˛-CNR and CESVI in Gilgit-Baltistan, Tibet and Nepal. Javed Hussain, Chairman, Northern Areas Chamber of Commerce, said it was necessary to open liaison offices in Sost and Kashghar, to facilitate trade and commerce activities between Pakistan and China. Babar Khan, Head WWF, North briefed the participants about the progress regarding collaboration between Khunjerab National Park and Tashqurghan Natural Reserve. Syed Yahya Shah, Chairman UNAN presented the community-based model for the development of Rakaposhi community Park. Ghulam Rasool, Assistant Chief P&DD shared with participants about the priority areas in ADP-2008-09. At the end of the workshop, the participants developed policy recommendations in order to initiate advocacy and lobbying to develop broad-based networking and cooperation among the KHHP mountain communities. The recommendation declared that like the eight Alpine Europe countries the resources and questions of development in KHHP was similar therefore there was a need to expand the scope of ICIMOD and other existing initiatives to strengthen ties among the mountain communities. The need to develop a virtual network among the key stakeholders active in the mountain regions was also highlighted. The recommendation also asked the Northern Areas Administration to establish Social Development Department in order to develop, facilitate and strengthen networks and cooperation among organisations and initiatives within Northern Areas. The chief guest of the concluding session, Abdul Sattar, Secretary Planning and Development Department, assured support in implementation of the workshop recommendations. He praised the role of AKRSP in social and institutional development in Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is here to note that the InWEnt through its International Leadership (ILT) programme aims to develop a cadre of young professionals to support the change management in implementing sector reforms in Himalaya, Karakuram and Hindukash regions. A significant part of the programme is to reflect the development experiences in Alpine Europe in identifying and implementing feasible options to apply these lessons- learnt in appropriate measures to Karakoram, Himalaya, Hindukush and Pamir regions.