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Speakers: ‘Value addition of mountain products imperative for community uplifting in GB’

By: Ahsan Jamil

An event was held in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) to mark ‘International Mountain Day’ with the aim to highlight rich potential of mountains for curbing food insecurity challenges in the country. The theme for this year was ‘Promoting Mountain Products for Better Livelihoods’. The day long event was organized by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), FOCUS, WWF-GB, and local community members.

The programme aimed to assess the scope of value chain development of mountain products for livelihood improvement and understanding the vulnerability of mountain ecosystem.

WWF-Pakistan’s regional head in Gilgit Baltistan Dr Babar Khan said while addressing on the occasion: “The HKH mountain systems play a significant role in agriculture and food security in South Asia. The regions’ rich agro-biodiversity has provided daily sustenance not only for the upland mountain communities, but also for millions of farmers in the lowlands”.

The programme included a students’ tableau on IMD, followed by panel discussions on ‘Understanding and capacity to handle the vulnerability of mountain ecosystems for promoting mountain products’. Panelists included representatives of the collaborating organizations.

David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD tended his special message for the day which was read by Country Manager, ICIMOD, Dr Abdul Wahid Jasra. He urged on promotion of mountain valley`s product to improve livelihoods of the community. He said, “The HKH region accounts for 18% of the global mountain area which includes all of Nepal and Bhutan, and the mountainous parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar.”

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