Collective efforts vital to save world from drought, ensure food security: President

ISLAMABAD, June 17 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday stressed the need for joining hands with regional countries and the world to save the globe from droughts and ensure food security.

In his message on the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, the president mentioned that many countries around the world, including Pakistan, were experiencing periodic low and unpredictable rainfall.

The president said climate change, degradation of land, deforestation, and overexploitation of farmlands and grasslands were contributing factors to crop failure, water stress, land degradation and low growth performance.

This year’s slogan ‘Rising up from drought together’, he said, will send a strong message to drought-prone countries to join hands and reiterate their commitment to encourage communities to act together to tackle the immediate impacts of drought and build long-term resilience.

President Alvi said the drought impact can be mitigated by developing water sources – such as micro dams, ponds, and wells, water rationing, restoring pastures, and recovering the water holding capacity of soils.

He proposed that the solution lay in tree plantation, protecting riverbanks, shifting to drought-tolerant crops, and relocation of herds from vulnerable pastures.

“We need to adopt cogent drought policies at the federal and provincial levels, launch a well-thought-out and coordinated drought action plan, implement comprehensive drought-management strategies, improve water security through groundwater recharge, create more water reservoirs, ensure water availability, and enhance forest cover throughout the country,” he said.

The president expressed satisfaction that Pakistan was working in many areas to mitigate the impact of drought which include the implementation of a national-level programme to plant 3.29 billion plants over an area of One million hectares in desertification and drought-prone areas.

Also, the launch of the Protected Areas Initiative to preserve the natural flora and fauna and achieving the voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Targets by 2030 are important areas, he added.