Islamabad [Pakistan]: According to the ‘Global Land Outlook’ report released by the United Nations, Pakistan along with 23 other countries has been listed as “drought-hit”.
Pakistan is facing drought emergencies over the past two years (2020-2022), reported Dawn. The report released by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ahead of the UN Desertification and Drought Day (June 17) said that over the past century, the highest number of people affected by drought was in Asia.
The 23 countries listed by the report include Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, the United States and Zambia, reported Dawn.
About future scenarios, the report predicts the outcomes by 2050 and the risks involved, and says by 2050, an additional 4 million square kilometres of natural areas would require restoration measures, augmented with protection measures of areas important for biodiversity, water regulation, conservation of soil and carbon stocks, and provision of critical ecosystem functions.
Up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, which directly affects half of humanity, threatening roughly half of the global GDP worth USD 44 trillion. If business as usual continued through 2050, the report projects additional degradation of an area almost the size of South America.
The report says nations’ current pledge to restore one billion degraded hectares by 2030 requires USD 1.6 trillion this decade — a fraction of today’s annual USD 700 billion in fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies.
The report warned that at no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world.
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, traditional and local knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, proven land stewards, represent a vast store of human and social capital that must be respected and can be used to protect and restore natural capital.
The report warned that if current land degradation trends continue, food supply disruptions, forced migration, rapid biodiversity loss and species extinctions will increase, accompanied by a higher risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, declining human health, and land resource conflicts, reported Dawn. (ANI)