IUST Hosts Biodiversity Month Celebrations

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Awantipora- To commemorate the completion of UN Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020), Mantaqi Centre for Science & Society (MCSS), Islamic University of Science & Technology (IUST) hosted Biodiversity Month celebrations here on Thursday.

The programme is part of the project objectives sponsored by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) under HICAB-Climate Change Programme, Government of India.

Vice Chancellor, IUST Prof. Mushtaq A. Siddiqi while formally inaugurating the event congratulated the MCSS, IUST for their efforts in organising the event. Prof. Siddiqi opined that the need of the hour is to incorporate the vibrant students and faculty to play a vital role in preserving biodiversity through research in order to build institutional strength.

He further said that universities need to gear up to transform from typical academic institutions to institutions of relevance in order to preserve the Biodiversity and Natural Resources around us. He emphasised that among others, student/scholar training/internships should be initiated between IUST and the Wildlife Protection Department.

In-charge Mantaqi Centre Prof. Fozia S. Qazi who was also the convener of the programme, in her welcome address deliberated upon pragmatics approach for taking care of biodiversity and natural resources both at individual and institutional level. She appreciated and lauded the efforts and hard work of Dr. Aijaz for creating a platform and taking initiatives in the Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change aspects at IUST in particular and Kashmir Region in general.

On the occasion, Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, Rashid Yahya Naqash (ICCA-USA Graduate) who was the Resource Person during the programme, acknowledged the role of IUST in promoting the cause of biodiversity conservation in Kashmir. He deliberated on the scenario of wildlife conservation and management in J&K. The region is rich in habitats, wetlands, ecosystems, rivers, etc which add to the diversity of biodiversity and wildlife, however, due to various anthropogenic threats like habitat destruction, erosion of genetic resources, disruption of ecosystem processes, etc, the regions biodiversity and wildlife is at risk and needs attention, he added.

Research Officer, Mantaqi Centre Dr. Aijaz Ahmad Qureshi gave a brief presentation to highlight the modus operandi of the programme, including current and future activities of the Centre. He mentioned that the period of UN Biodiversity Decade is commemorating in the month of December 2020 and at global level initiatives are being taken for implementation of post-2020 global biodiversity framework agenda. He highlighted the relevance and mandate of IUST in organising such types of events and gave an overview of various activities which includes Panel Discussion, Special Lectures, Exhibitions, Awareness, Collaborations and Webinars etc being organised throughout the month long event.

Dr. Aijaz who is also the Nodal Officer, IUST Biodiversity Park highlighted that university is taking all measures for making biodiversity rich and sustainable campus and presently MCSS, IUST is part of research projects focusing on areas like conservation biology, natural history, biosystematics, climate change, bio-ecology, conservation science, capacity building, etc sponsored/executed by many agencies like Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Switzerland, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India, European Union.

Dean School of Sciences, Prof. G.M. Rather while presenting the concluding remarks deliberated that celebrating biodiversity month to commemorate the UN Biodiversity Decade and deliberate on the strategies needed to be followed for next more than 10 years is a welcome step. There needs to be joint work between Wildlife Protection Department J&K and IUST and hoped that this platform will open new doors for collaborations and wished success for the programme, he added.

Registrar IUST, Prof. Naseer Iqbal, Dean, School of Engineering & Technology, Prof. A. H. Moon, Dean School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Prof. Ab. Salam Bhat, Finance Officer, Sameer Wazir, Dr. M. Amin Bhat, I/c Controller of Examinations, other officials, scholars, students/volunteers and other staff members of the varsity, representatives from various organisations particularly Wildlife Trust of India (Dr. Riyaz Ahamd), School Herbal Garden Scheme, Directorate of School Education (Manzoor Javeed, State Nodal Officer), and representatives of media were present on the occasion.

At the end Dr. Aijaz presented vote of thanks and acknowledged the support and encouragement from various quarters/agencies like IUST, DST, GoI, Directorate of IT&SS, Deans/Heads/faculty/Staff of IUST, Wildlife Trust of India, Inside Kashmir, School Herbal Garden Scheme, Wildlife Protection Department, Centre for Biodiversity & Taxonomy, University of Kashmir, ATREE Bangalore, BNHS, Mumbai, Southern Regional Centre, ZSI, Chennai, University of Montana, USA, media fraternity, colleagues and family members.

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