RAWALPINDI: Out of 79.6 million hectares of Pakistan’s total land, 62m hectares are vulnerable to desertification, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said on Wednesday.
At a seminar on ‘Combating Desertification in Pakistan’ organised by the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) and the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP), Mr Aslam said the country is facing global warming and desertification is a major challenge to sustainable development.
He said challenges posed by changing climatic conditions have evolved and infiltrated the entire spectrum of human survival and progress.
Seminar held on combating desertification
Combating desertification requires concerned efforts at a wider scale, he said, adding that the climate change ministry is approaching this with a climate smart approach.
Mr Aslam highlighted various steps the ministry is undertaking to tackle climate change.
He said the government has decided to plant at least 10 billion trees across the country, and plastic bans have been banned in the capital to make it a plastic-free zone.
This ban will be extended to other parts of the country, he said.
PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Dr Qamaruz Zaman spoke about the university’s role for an improved climate, adding that such collaborative activities must be strengthened and taken forward to fight desertification.
Earlier, SLMP-II National Programme Coordinator Hamid Marwat told the audience about World Desertification Day and about SLMP approaches and interventions for better land management in Pakistan.
SLMP is a joint programme by the United Nations Development Programme and Ministry of Climate Change.
Mr Marwat said: “Implementation of the programme will bring considerable financial benefits for poor dryland communities through the sustainable management of their land resources.”
Dr Sarwat N. Mirza, former dean of the forestry and range management faculty at PMAS-AAUR, spoke in detail about desertification and highlighted the threats, challenges in opportunities in Pakistan’s context.
Dr Irfan Ashraf, who coordinated the seminar, gave a technical speech on combating desertification and focused on practical steps to deal with the issue.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019