UN classifies Pakistan as ‘drought-affected’ – Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among 23 countries facing drought emergencies in the past two years (2020-2022), according to the “Global Land Outlook” report released by the United Nations.
The report released by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ahead of United Nations Desertification and Drought Day (June 17) indicates that over the past century, the highest total number of human beings affected by drought occurred in Asia.
The 23 countries listed by the report are Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, USA and Zambia.
On future scenarios, the report predicts the outcomes by 2050 and the risks involved, and states that by 2050, an additional 4 million square kilometers of natural areas, equivalent to the size of India and Pakistan, would require restoration measures, supplemented by measures to protect the areas. important for biodiversity, water regulation, conservation of soil and carbon stocks, and provision of critical ecosystem functions.
Up to 40% of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of humanity and threatening around half of the world’s GDP worth $44 trillion. If cases continue through 2050, the report predicts further degradation of an area nearly the size of South America.
The report says nations’ current pledge to restore one billion degraded hectares by 2030 requires $1.6 trillion this decade – a fraction of the current $700 billion annually in fossil fuels and agricultural subsidies.
The report warns that at no other time in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and dangers, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world.
According to the report, many traditional and modern regenerative food production practices can transform agriculture from being the main cause of degradation to being the main enabler of land and soil restoration.
Poor rural communities, smallholder farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples and other at-risk groups are disproportionately affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. At the same time, the traditional and local knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, proven stewards of the land, represent a vast store of human and social capital that must be respected and can be used to protect and restore natural capital.
Immediate financial support is needed to fund conservation and restoration in developing countries with a greater share of the global distribution of intact, biodiversity-rich and carbon-rich ecosystems, the report points out.
The report warns that if current trends in land degradation continue, disruptions to food supplies, forced migrations, rapid loss of biodiversity and species extinctions will increase, accompanied by a higher risk of diseases zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19, declining human health and conflict over land resources.
Many regenerative agriculture practices have the potential to increase crop yields and improve nutritional quality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, the report says.
Posted in Dawn, May 15, 2022