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Designation of the First Ever Marine Protected Area in Pakistan
by Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan (Government)
The Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in 2004 that marine and coastal protected areas are an essential tool for the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity (article 8 of the convention). The target 11 of Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed by all Parties to the CBD specify that each Party has to declare at least 10% of its coastal and marine areas as Marine Protected Area (MPA), especially the areas of biodiversity significance and ecosystem services.

Pakistan is a Party to CBD and shown commitment to implementation of SDGs. However, at present, there is not a single MPA established in Pakistans coastal waters. The Government of Pakistan with support from various federal and provincial government agencies, IUCN Pakistan and non-governmental organisations has initiated the process of establishment of MPAs in Pakistan.

The National Coordinating Body (NCB) of Mangroves for the Future Pakistan headed by the Ministry of Climate Change, Government Pakistan has led the process of initial identification of potential MPA sites in Pakistan, Astola Island, Churna Island, Minai Hor, Gwatar Bay and the Indus Swatch. The proposed MPA sites have been identified through a consultative process involving relevant stakeholders and based on their biodiversity and socioeconomic significance. The proposed sites support a variety of species of demersal fisheries, cetaceans (dolphins and whales), sea turtles, endemic reptiles, corals and mangroves. Unregulated and extractive human activities have threatened biodiversity resources of these sites. The objective of designation of the proposed sites as MPAs is to ensure effective protection and conservation of biodiversity resources and create livelihood benefits for dependent fisherfolk communities.

The MPAs would be notified under relevant government legislation and a co-management mechanism would be devised through a consultative process together with awareness raising and sensitisation of stakeholders and local communities on benefits of MPAs and their collaborative management.
The Government of Pakistan expresses its commitment to designate at least one site in Pakistans territorial waters as MPA by 2020. The proposed intervention will directly contribute to target 14.5 of SDGs and attainment of a resolution # 052 adopted at the World Conservation Congress 2016 calling for declaration of Astola Island as MPA in Pakistan. The proposed commitment will support designation of the first MPA in Pakistan and set the foundation of identification and designation of more MPA sites in Pakistan to meet its international obligations.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Training and professional development
01/2017 to 12/2017
Sensitisation and awareness of stakeholders on MPAs and their benefits
01/2017 to 12/2017
Awareness Materials on MPAs
01/2017 to 12/2020
Designation of at least one marine site (Astola Island) as the first MPA in Pakistan
Financing (in USD)
11,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Regional and country based marine experts of IUCN/MFF Programme and IUCN members
In-kind contribution
Time cost contributed by the relevant government and civil society partners
Basic information
Time-frame: 01/2015 - 12/2020
1. Forest & Wildlife Department, Government of Balochistan 2. Fisheries Department, Government of Balochistan 3. Fisheries Department, Government of Sindh 4. Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan 5. Pakistan Navy 6. National Institute of Oceanography 7. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) / Mangroves for the Future Programme (MFF) 8. Indus Earth Trust 9. WWF Pakistan
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Coastal fisher folk communities, coastal resource managers, academia and research organisations, tour operators, scuba divers.
Contact information
Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, saaakif@gmail.com; secretarymocc@gmail.com; secy@ccd.gov.pk, +92 51-9224579
Islamabad Pakistan
Other SDGs
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