National Coordinating Body Meeting of MFF Programme

Meeting Marks Start of Third Phase of MFF with Emphasis on Regional Initiatives and Private Sector Engagement

The 12th meeting of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) of the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme was held in Karachi, marking the inception of the third phase of the MFF regional initiative. The new phase will run from 2014 to 2018 building on the significant achievements realized by MFF over the past seven years.

MFF is a unique partner-led regional initiative to promote investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. At the country level, MFF Programme activities are overseen by NCB represented by relevant government, civil society and private sector organisations. Pakistan joined MFF Programme in 2010 after it notified a National Coordination Body in 2009 and prepared a National Strategy and Action Plan. MFF Programme supports investment in conservation of coastal ecosystems and coastal livelihoods through its grant programme which include small grants, medium grants and regional projects.

From an initial six, the number of member countries joining the MFF has gone up to ten and two more – Malaysia and Myanmar – are expected to join soon.

Participants at the meeting included representatives of the federal and provincial governments, including representatives of Pakistan Navy and Ministry of Defence, private sector, FAO, UNDP, international organizations, NGOs and academia.The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Rukhsana Saleem, Federal Secretary Climate Change Division, Government of Pakistan.

Appreciating the role of the NCB in helping address coastal issues, Mrs. Saleem observed that:

“The essential feature of the NCB and the MFF model is that it fosters a joint dialogue and commitment from all the stakeholders – government agencies, NGOs and the private sector – towards integrated and sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.”

Also present at the meeting was the Asia Regional Director, IUCN and Co-Chair of the MFF Regional Steering Committee, Mrs. Aban Marker Kabraji, who recounted the inception of the MFF initiative following the 2004 tsunami; and how from a short-term disaster recovery response the MFF initiative had evolved into becoming a long-term solution to coastal issues regionally.

“The focus of Phase 3 of MFF will be on the development of resilience in ecosystem-dependent coastal communities and on developing shared understanding and capacity building communities against disaster risks and climate change impacts. MFF will also continue to build on its efforts to influence coastal management policy with an increased emphasis on expanding knowledge management and capacity development activities.”

Since the inception of MFF activities in Pakistan three cycles of small grants have been implemented to support various community-based conservation initiatives. These grants have addressed several themes pertaining to coastal areas, including participatory conservation and restoration of mangroves, sustainable management of coastal resources, community resilience building, livelihoods development, and advocacy and awareness on integrated coastal resources management.

Speaking on the occasion, IUCN Country Representative Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said:

“Phase 3 will also see greater emphasis on engaging with the private sector, both to harness the resources of the sector in support of sustainable coastal management and to work with companies to reduce their impact on coastal ecosystems and communities.

About Mangroves for the Future
Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a unique partner-led initiative to promote investment in coastal ecosystem conservation. In December 2006 President Bill Clinton planted the first mangrove tree to launch the MFF initiative at a fishing village on Phuket Island, Thailand. MFF provides a collaborative platform among the many different agencies, sectors and countries who are addressing challenges to coastal ecosystem and livelihood issues. The initiative is funded by SIDA, NORAD and Danida and is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP. Current member countries include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.