Combating Drought and Desertification in Drylands

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a historic convention adopted in 1994. Pakistan ratified the convention in 1997. This international legal instrument deals with poverty, food security and land degradation issues in marginal dry lands. This convention provided opportunities Pakistan, which is predominantly an arid and semi-arid country. Pakistan is facing desertification problems in croplands and rangelands, which threaten its rural economy and causing severe poverty. The main agenda and programme of SCOPE has been chiefly derived from the objectives of UNCCD as this convention relates with the environment and sustainable development issues of the country.

Drought destabilizes life and environment in arid lands. Tharparkar is a drought affected arid/ semi-arid region in South-East of Pakistan. This region is characterized by harsh terrain, lack of development infrastructure and civic facilities. SCOPE has selected Tharparkar district for local area development initiatives to combat desertification, in the context of the UNCCD. The main idea is to develop a model of combating desertification by involving all stakeholders and application of traditional knowledge and appropriate technology. Despite of prevailing difficult physical conditions we were able to successfully initiate a dryland development programme following the philosophy and objectives of UNCCD. This is an integrated programme being implemented through our “Anti-Drought and Desertification Center” based at Mithi.