PMAS-AAUR Observes World Day to Combat Desertification

A seminar on "Combating Desertification in Pakistan" under the theme "Land has true value, Invest in it" held at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR), on July 18, 2018, to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification for awareness raising and sharing the vision to combat desertification in the country.


The seminar was organized by the PMAS-AAUR Department of Forestry & Range Management in collaboration with Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) and Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC).


Dr. Raja Muhammad Omer, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Forest, Ministry of Climate Change, MoCC was the chief guest while Prof. Dr Sarwat N Mirza, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR was guest of honor at the seminar.


Speakers stressed on the achievement of Land degradation neutrality (LDN) through problem solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels. They focused on measurable value of land beyond its cash value and suggested everyone to play their role to invest in it. They also suggested to adopt smart agriculture practices, conserve water, spend on the organic & fairly trading products and said, "Desertification are caused by the human activities as well as natural phenomena. Even our choices and decisions on what we eat, drink or wear impact the land."


Addressing at the seminar, Dr. Raja Omer, informed the audience that Ministry is leading the efforts to combat desertification in the country by executing Sustainable Land Management Programme in 14 dry land districts of all four provinces. He thanked provincial governments and their all aligned departments for taking lead in their respective provinces to fight land degradation and desertification. He told the audience that National Programme Director of SLMP and Inspector General of Forests, Syed Mahmood Nasir has stepped up coordination efforts with provinces for more effective implementation of the programme.


Prof. Dr. Sarwat N. Mirza, Vice Chancellor PMAS AAUR, highlighted acknowledged efforts by the Ministry of Climate Change, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for supporting Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) for on-the-ground efforts to combat desertification in the country. Dr Mirza highlighted the role university is playing for climate change adaptation in the country. He emphasized that such collaborative activities must be strengthened and taken forward to combat desertification in Pakistan.


Earlier, Mr. Nadeem Shaukat, Expert Policy Reforms and Capacity Building (SLMP) briefed the audience about World Desertification Day and about SLMP approaches and interventions for better land management in Pakistan. He said, "The implementation of the programme will bring considerable financial benefits for the poor in dryland communities through sustainable management of their land resources."


Dr. M. Irfan Ashraf delivered technical speech on combating desertification and focused on practical moves to deal with the burning issue.


Mr. Fawad Mir, Expert Land Use Planning and Implementation thanked the audience and other participants of the seminar for according importance to the critical issue of desertification and hoped that collaboration between academic and research institutions with specialized institutions like AAUR, UNDP, Ministry of Climate Change and SLMP will go a long way in combating desertification in the country.


SLMP is striving to achieve the long-term goal of combating land degradation and desertification in Pakistan to promote sustainable management of natural resources, restore degraded ecosystems, reduce poverty, and increase resilience to climate change.