Sustainable land use critical for tackling climatic threats
ISLAMABAD: Sustainable use of land and depleting water resources is critical for sustainable socio-economic and environmental uplift, particularly food security and poverty alleviation. However making sustainable land management and water conservation plans an integral part of national and other sectoral policies is not possible without a renewed political commitment at all levels.
Ministry of Climate Change Secretary Muhammad Ali Gardezi at a national consultative workshop on Development of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Land Management in Pakistan said climate change, which has expedited process of desertification, land erosion, water depletion and overall environmental degradation, opportunity in disguise.
Because the grim scenario of changing weather patterns in the country calls for joint actions by all sectors of economy for coping with resultant disasters.
Pakistan, with 80 percent of its land classified as arid or semi-arid is facing a growing threat from desertification, land degradation and drought which is further aggravated by climate change impacts as witnessed during flash floods in 2010, 2011and 2012.
Nearly two-third of country’s rapidly expanding population relies on dry lands for their livelihoods through agro-pastoral activities.
The productivity and sustainability of these activities in turn depends on critical ecosystem services, provided by rivers, groundwater, trees and soils, which are again at risk from climate change and unsustainable use of these natural resources.
In order to achieve durable use of these very natural resources, the sustainable land management practices have to be incorporated into national planning and budgetary process.
He hoped once finalised, these criteria and indicators of the sustainable land management across the country will provide an efficient, viable framework to collect, store and disseminate reliable information on SLM project.
This will help in assessing the state of land resources, stability, functions and services of different agro-ecosystems as well as economic well-being of the country’s rural communities.
Muhammad Khalid Siddiq joint secretary of the Ministry spelled out key objectives of the workshop, which include developing a generic set of draft criteria and indicators for the SLM project [with the help of consultative process involving technical experts on land management, agriculture, forestry, water and sustainable development that would be understandable and implementable, measurable and verifiable when enforced.
He said the Ministry has mandated the SLM project to initiate a process of the National Action Programme (NAP) and Provincial Action Programmes that was in harmony with the UNCCD’s 10-year strategic plan.
Dr Amjad Tahir Virk said it was encouraging to know Pakistan was one of the few countries, which have taken a lead in accessing funds through Global Environment Facilities and the Global Mechanism for NAP alignment to UNCCD and development of integrated investment framework as well as indicator-based reporting for monitoring of the SLM interventions in all provinces of the country.
Federal Climate Change Minister Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan has lauded efforts of the Ministry for launching such an important programme for dealing a host of land management issues in Pakistan.
Lauding the Ministry’s officials he said it was indeed a matter of delight Ministry has successful in launching a flagship national level programme that would not only help address these very problems but also promote durable and viable use of the land resources, check desertification, land erosion and promote water conservation at all levels.