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NIO Celebrating 5th World Ocean Day on 10th June, 2013

Oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and are essential to humanity; providing food security, health and survival to all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. In 2008, United Nations General Assembly decided that from 2009 onwards 8 June was designated as the “World Oceans Day”, through a UN Resolution 63/111, paragraph 171, adopted on 8 December, 2008. In order to demonstrate solidarity with the international community, this year again the National Institute of Oceanography organized a one day seminar to celebrate the role of oceans in our lives and to raise the awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans
The Dr. A.R. Tabrez, Director General, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) delivered his welcome address introducing the significance of the day and the background under which the United Nation in December 2008 declared June 8 from 2009 onwards as the “World Oceans Day”. He further elaborated the UN theme for this year which is “OCEANS & PEOPLE”, and spoke about the importance of the oceans.

Other distinguished speakers included Mr. Javed Jabbar who kindly consented to accept the role of the Chief Guest, while delivering Key Note Address acknowledged the value of the oceans in terms of being the only planet in the Universe to have surface water. He stressed the need to pool all national forces to work towards the improving environmental conditions in general and oceans especially.

Prof. Dr. Shahana Urooj Kazmi, Dean Faculty of Science, University of Karachi gave a talk on “Ocean Biotechnology”. She highlighted different sea species who Pakistan could utilize more effectively to ensure food security in the years to come. Mr. Moin Raza Khan, Deputy Managing Director, Pakistan Petroleum Limited presented a talk titled “Current Challenges Faced by Oil & Gas Exploration Companies in Off-Shore Areas”. He stressed that the offshore areas of Pakistan deserve more efforts in terms of drilling and hoped that the potential available in the offshore area of Pakistan could yield success if tried for unconventional targets.

Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN delivered a talk entitled “Role of Mangroves in Regulating Climate Change” he highlighted the contribution made by IUCN in the development and preservation of mangrove forests as the density of mangrove forests in Pakistan is very less as compare to other regional countries. Mr. Paul Fanning, FAO’s Chief Technical Advisor to Fishery Resource Appraisal Project, Marine Fisheries Department, Government of Pakistan, spoke on “Challenges to Fisheries” and how fisheries and aquaculture meets the challenges of food security. He briefed the audience about the preliminary findings from the recent Pakistan’s fishery stock assessment; practices and pressures that the industry currently experiences. He emphasized the importance of management and sustainable practices to ensure a healthy fishery sector.

The one day seminar to celebrate the World Oceans Day 2013, which is the fifth year running, organized by the National Institute of Oceanography was well attended by over 100 representatives from more than 20 organizations belonging to the federal and provincial governments; Pakistan Navy, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, academia (various universities and colleges), non-governmental environmental organizations, private enterprises and the media.
In the end, the workshop coordinator Dr. Asif Inam from NIO delivered the vote of thanks, appreciating the participation of the various organizations and individuals, and finally stage secretary Dr. Hina Baig concluded the program, hoping that the august g athering convenes again next year 2014, to celebrate the 6th - World Oceans Day.

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