A young conservation champion for Pakistan - Aziz Ahmed
Before the age of 30, Aziz Ahmed served as Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator for conservation projects with strong local community participation in his native Pakistan that focused on combating desertification and reforestation.
As Coordinator for the SCOPE (Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment) Pakistan implemented project “Combating Desertification by Participatory Action in Tharparkar” Aziz collaborated with local communities to reduce pressure on land and forest resources in an area of Pakistan rich in biodiversity. The sub-district of Nagarparkar in Tharparkar is part of the Runn of Kuch RAMSAR site.
Aziz ensured native people in the region were at the heart of the project, respecting their culture and traditions through a number of initiatives, including: organization of village “Community Green Groups”, training the groups in sustainable rangeland management, rangeland rehabilitation techniques and large scale cultivation of medicinal herbs for sustainable harvesting, organizing a local watch system to halt commercial tree felling, developing a local cooperation mechanism between the green groups, local government and the forest department, and wide scale re-vegetation of the cultivation of the locally important guglan shrub.
Through this engagement, the Tharparkar project achieved a number of landmarks that contributed to local sustainable development, including reintroducing and strengthening traditional rangeland management systems, creating new livelihood opportunities, and building a foundation for current and future cooperation with the forest department and local government to protect the area’s environment.
Before his success at Tharparkar, Aziz also served as Assistant Project Coordinator for the local NGO Society for Science Education and Research in a UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme Pakistan supported project on reforestation in the Pakistan district of Badin.
Aziz also received the UN World Health Organization Award of Appreciation 2012 and Certificate of Appreciation 2011 for his contribution to the Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) Pakistan as an Environmental Health Engineer. In addition, he was honored with the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Award by the European Union Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission in 2012. He is currently an MSc Student for a Joint European Master in Environmental Studies Cities and Sustainability (JEMES CiSu), in the Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark.