Climate Change

UN lists Pakistan among 23 countries facing drought emergencies

drought emergencies

The United Nations has included Pakistan in the list of 23 countries that are facing drought emergencies. The report released by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) said that 23 countries including Pakistan have experienced drought emergencies in the last couple of years.

Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan, the United States, and Zambia are the 23 countries listed by UN report.

With regard to Pakistan, United Nations Global Land Outlook says that desertification Control through Sustainable Land Management of Productive land is rare in Pakistan. Almost 80 percent of the country is arid or semi-arid.

Read more: Water scarcity, drought could be the next pandemic warns the UN

Desertification and land degradation are due to unsustainable land management practices, together with increased demand for natural resources, and driven by a rapidly increasing and mainly rural population reliant on drylands for their livelihoods.

To resolve the dispute, in 2007, the Pakistani government started to implement a Sustainable Land Management program across nine dry land districts. During eight years, 120 square kilometers of degraded rangeland were restored via reseeding and community-based grazing management and another 80 square kilometers under sustainable rain-fed agriculture and water conservation methods.

Afterward in 2015, the project was stretched and rolled out more extensively, utilizing water control and storage structures, making shelterbelts and rangeland management plans, rehabilitating degraded dryland forests (like community tree nurseries and plantations for domestic fuel), and applying sand dune stabilization measures. All these measures led to benefitting 13,000 households from nearly 200 square kilometers of improved land health, reduced wind erosion, and better access to water for livestock.

After the success of the program, the Billion Trees Afforestation Project in Pakistan’s hilly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was initiated, which saw 3,500 square kilometers of forests and degraded land rehabilitated in only two years.

In 2018, the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, as part of nature-based solutions to battle desertification and climate change in Pakistan, was initiated.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan’s province, Balochistan, ancient management techniques, called ‘karez’ system utilizes tunnels that follow a natural slope to deliver groundwater without using mechanical energy.

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