Hammad Naqi Khan is the CEO of WWF-Pakistan. An engineer and water expert by profession, Hammad has been working with regional and int’l forums on various environmental issues for about 3 decades. World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) is the largest conservation organization in Pakistan. It has been working since 1970 with communities, government, civil society, international organizations, industries, and corporate entities, towards the conservation of the environment and improving the management of the country’s natural resources. WWF-Pakistan has presence in all the provincial capitals, as well as considerable outreach in targeted field sites, protected areas, and other key ecological sites.

To enlighten our followers about Khan’s journey with WWF Pakistan and Coca-Cola, we asked him a few interesting questions:

1.        What is the vision of WWF for the year 2017?

Last year, in the face of unprecedented risks and challenges, WWF-Pakistan was able to achieve a lot; from addressing the ever prevalent issue of illegal wildlife trade in the country, to initiating the process of Alliance for Water Stewardship Certification to promoting responsible freshwater use. We never allowed the hurdles to stop us dead in our tracks and opted to move forward. As much as we would like to glance back and take pride in what we have achieved, we look ahead into the year 2017, embracing bold changes to make the organisation even more resilient in tackling the challenges ahead. Our mission is to protect, defend and replenish our depleting ecosystems and being the leading conservation organisation, both globally and in Pakistan, we would continue being the torchbearers of addressing environmental issues.  

2.        How can people be directly involved in the WWF program in Pakistan?

WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by close to five million members globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.  WWF-Pakistan has a strong base of members ranging across the socio-political spectrum of the country, who stands with us for nature—giving us the resources needed in staying vigilant, staying loud, and in staying strong in years to come. We’re funded and supported by folks from various walks of life enabling us to vigorously defend endangered species and the environment without compromise.

3.        How has the empowering journey with Coca-Cola been so far? What are the collaborative project and its accomplishments?

Since 2008, WWF-Pakistan and The Coca-Cola Foundation’s collaboration has made substantial achievements towards sustainable natural resource management in and around Ayubia National Park (ANP). There is 4.62% improvement in vegetation cover through the project’s efforts on block plantation (133.85 ha), natural regeneration (22.25 ha fenced), and other plantations with communities. This has contributed towards improved groundwater water replenishment (approx. 215 million liters per year), improved spring water quality, and reduced sediments (approx. 1843.37 m³ reduced). Efforts to provide clean water and energy to communities include: installation of 1 large and 70 small and medium water filtration units, 83 solar water heaters in public places such as schools and mosques, 85 rooftop rainwater harvesting schemes, and 18 roof/wall insulation solutions; distribution of 510 Fuel Efficient Stoves; improving drinking water supply and sanitation in 10 schools; and cleanup of 29 water springs. The project also developed waste management plans and systems for the Galliat area that was adopted by the Galliat Devlelopment Authority, the Saif-ul-Muluk Lake National Park (SNP) and for the ‘pipeline track’ in ANP.

The project has helped establish community based organizations (CBOs) for men and women, for better mobilization and has contributed towards augmenting local livelihoods through building vocational skills of women, trainings on better agricultural practices, improving field terraces, establishing 10 pipe irrigation schemes, and distributing seed kits, fruit plants, and poultry units.  Awareness and education initiatives, such as engaging teachers and students in over 80 schools, establishing 55 nature clubs, training 25 men as eco-tourist guides to sensitize tourists, have also been successful in engaging the public.

4.       How do you see the WWF changing in the last nearly 9 years ever since its ground breaking collaboration with Coca-Cola?

WWF-Pakistan started its collaboration with The Coca-Cola Foundation under the project on "Improving Sub­-Watershed Management and Environmental Awareness in and around Ayubia National Park (G200­ Western Himalayas)" in Nov 2008. The project is now in its 8th phase and has been one of the iconic projects of WWF-Pakistan for its innovative approach and achievements. The Coca-Cola Foundation’s consistent support during all these years, not only in terms of funding but also with media coverage and joint planting and waste cleaning campaigns,  has been crucial in achieving impacts from watershed management (e.g. water replenishment and improved water quality) that need continuous efforts and considerable time to manifest. WWF-Pakistan’s Nathiagali office team has also accumulated considerable knowledge and established effective networks with the local communities in the project area over the years, which are essential towards scaling up and sustaining these critical watershed management initiatives.

5.       Can you tell us the story of your prior success, challenges and major responsibilities that you face regarding the conservation of environment and wild life? (Question for Hammad Naqi)

The best part of working in the field of conservation is that when life throws challenges your way you should have the ability to transform them into opportunities. Early in my career I often used to wonder, have I chosen the correct career path? Have I been dealt a bad hand by fate? These thoughts come natural when you are young and wish for the moon and stars but in real life you are stuck in a mundane routine. But I was able to assuage these questions with my commitment of working towards a sustainable future. I found opportunities in my everyday routine, grew and excelled along with my organisation. Even today, as the CEO of the leading conservation organisation, I crumble under pressures but today I’ve found hope in my young and energetic team. The dedication, with which they work, gives me hope that we are moving in the right direction. I may not run the affairs of the organisation forever but I feel confident that when I look over my shoulders I find myself amongst the company of people with great minds who are capable of filling in my shoes at any given time and lead from the front. For me the secret to success is continuity!

6.       What are some of the up-coming projects of WWF, that we can look forward to?

We are all over the place, and I say that in a positive way. From the towering mountains of the north to the shores of the country, WWF-Pakistan is engaged in projects for uplifting the environment, both in the literal and figurative sense of the phrase. We have recently initiated the following projects:

International Labour and Environmental Standards: from Compliance to Competitiveness (ILES-CC), Pakistan - which we're implementing alongside ILO with EU funding.

Introducing renewable energy solutions to enhance energy security and build climate resilience in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan - being funded by the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF).

Indus Eco-region Community Livelihoods Project (Keenjhar Lake; Manchar Lake; Chotiari Reservoir; and Nara Canal) - being funded by The World Bank.

In addition, this year we will be conducting the much awaited Indus Dolphin Survey to assess the increase in their numbers. So, 2017 is the year for conservation successes.

7.        What has been WWF Pakistan’s biggest achievement lately?

In this age of stiff competition no organisation can afford to take its employees for granted. Though we are running our own race to achieve an environmental equilibrium, we find ourselves in a race with time, a race against the rising threats to our ecosystems. To achieve these goals, we as an organisation went under an internal metamorphosis and during the process of which we achieved in creating inspiring, employee-friendly work environments in order to capture, develop, and retain talent and transform both the employees and the organisation in the process. The biggest achievement is yet to come!