Sherry stresses need for drought preparedness, building resilience

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Federal Minister of Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman stressed the need to set in motion the work on improving drought preparedness and building drought resilience.

The minister, in her message on the World Desertification and Drought Day said “Droughts and desertification are critical issues worldwide. For the last two years, Pakistan has been amongst the top 23 countries facing a major drou ght emergency.” By 2025, she said, droughts might affect estimated three-quarters of the world’s population. “Pakistan will certainly be in its crosshairs. Desertification is a global phenomenon caused by environmental and climatic factors and human activities but has left Pakistan scarred by its multiple impacts, including environmental degradation, loss of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity, and reduction in land productivity, which has exacerbated and amplified the vulnerability of fragile local communities.” Sherry Rehman said, “Droughts aren’t some new phenomenon that we aren’t familiar with, they have always been a part of nature and human experience, however, with massive deforestation, and anthropogenic activities a noticeable change in climate conditions have accelerated the fallout.

“In Pakistan, we see water stress and dry rivers all over the country due to prolonged heat waves and delayed rains, poor distribution of water. This worsens especially because the country is predominantly arid.

“In addition, Pakistan’s per capita water availability has dropped from 5060 cubic meters per annum in 1951 to only 908 cubic meters now. UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) states that Pakistan will dry up by 2025 if no urgent action is taken today. Our livestock is critically affected by the rising heat and lack of water in already water-stressed areas of Sindh and South Punjab. “The challenge is a big one. Pakistan has embarked on its Green Initiative programme set to plant 3.29 billion plants over an area of one million hectares.