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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change is implementing a project to promote conservation of biodiversity and strengthen existing conservation efforts by using an innovative market-based mechanism, according to official sources.

The project called “Mountains and market biodiversity and business in northern Pakistan” aims to develop community and institutional capacity for certified production of biodiversity-friendly and non-timber products in northern parts of the country.

It also aims to stimulate market demand for these products, thereby creating new economic incentives for conservation.

The ministry sources said the forest and wildlife departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan were the implementation partners in the project while the Global Environment Facility was providing the funding.

The sources said the project area was spread across Hindu Kush, Karakorum and Western Himalayan mountain ranges.

Many globally threatened species are still found there, from the snow leopard and lynx to highly endangered woolly flying squirrel. Although protected areas now cover some 11 per cent of the mountains, threats yet remain to the region’s unique biodiversity due to poverty and limited options for sustainable sources of livelihood.

The other objective of the project is sustainable production of biodiversity goods and services through community ecosystem-based enterprises and demonstration conservancies in northern mountains.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2015

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