ISLAMABAD: LEAD Pakistan hosted a one-day workshop focusing on Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs) entitled “Regional Workshop on ICCAs - Understanding, Respecting and Recognizing Indigenous Management Systems for Better Governance” in collaboration with USAID’s Small Grants and Ambassador's Fund Program and the Wildlife Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the Serena Islamabad on 21st May, 2015.
 
The workshop provided a multi-stakeholder platform to generate debate on issues specific to ICCAs. Regional Experts on ICCAs from Iran and Nepal attended the event, along eminent researchers, policy practitioners, and experts from all over Pakistan. 
 
It identified the factors that have led to success of ICCAs across a broad array of ecological and socio-cultural conditions and incorporate them in the project target areas of Mustuj and Chitral. 
 
In his opening remarks, Mr. Safdar Ali Shah, Chief Conservator Wildlife, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said today’s conference was the first of its kind and congratulated Lead and USAID for bringing into focus the importance of indigenous management systems. Encouraging resource management systems were very important to the government of KP and tools for reducing poverty and improving the lives of its citizens.
 
The attendees were then asked to observe one-minute silence for the victims of the Nepal earthquake and the Safoora attack by Mr. Tahir Rasheed, GM LEAD Pakistan & Project Manager “Empowering Indigenous Community Conserved Areas for Wildlife Conservation in Chitral”. He then presented a background and purpose of the workshop. 
 
He said it was important to learn from the age-old systems of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for greater empowerment and better livelihoods. A strong nexus exists between culture and conservation, which should be utilised to the maximum, he said!
 
The Chief Guest, Dr. Muhammad Mumtaz Malik, University of Haripur says the basic role of communities has been overlooked and there should have been a more participatory process. The government of KP has taken such initiatives in the past, but policies re ICCA’s have to be reviewed for proper management.
 
This tri-demensional approach is worthy and Mr. Malik hoped such projects great success in the future.
 
Mr. QaziAzmat Isa, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund also spoke at the event. He congratulated USAID and Lead; the outcomes must be reviewed closely and the values mainstreamed into government policy so this disconnect from nature is addressed – which has been a salient part of society from the beginning. 
 
The first Plenary session, Regional Perspectives, chaired by Mr. Sajjad Hyderand included presentations on “identifying and advancing ICCAs for their legal recognition: Experiences and Lessons from Nepal” by Mr. JailabRai (ForestAction) and “Re-empowering Iran's nomadic tribes by strengthening indigenous institutions by Mr. Salman Rassouli (ICCA Consortium) – Iran.
 
The second Plenary Session chaired by Mr. Ghulam Muhammad, Chief Conservator- Forests, Balochistan and included presentations on country-wide conservation initiatives.