ISLAMABAD - Federal Secretary Planning Development and Reform Zafar Hasan has said that the glacier cover is projected to decrease by 20 per cent and temperature to increase by 2 to 3ºC by 2050.

While addressing a round-table conference on “the state of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, the Secretary said that high melting rate would result into floods and decrease in the ice cap. The conference was organised on Friday by the Center for Rural Economy Ministry of Planning Development and Reform in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Zafar Hasan said that government is striving to eliminate hunger and all forms of malnutrition in compliance with SDGs target 2.1 & 2.2, launch of national food security policy and multi-sectoral nutrition strategy shows the government’s resolve towards addressing the challenges of zero hunger in Pakistan under SDGs.

While addressing the participants, the Secretary said that Pakistan recognises the importance of food security. Pakistan has produced surplus staple wheat and sugar, but still approximately 18 per cent of our population is still facing challenges of food insecurity, he said.

Several factors like lack of awareness about healthy food and poor access due to low income and geographic barriers are the main reasons that upset the dietary system of households.

Zafar Hasan said that the Pakistan is the country which is contributing least towards climate change and global warming issues, however, we are amongst the worst sufferers, the availability and storage of water has now become one of the most critical issues depicting the public policy decisions in Pakistan.

While addressing, he said that high level shortage of water in the summer due to 30 per cent less rains and high level shortage is also expected in the winter season, where the glacial cover is projected to decrease by 20 per cent and temperature increase by 2 to 3ºC by 2050.

Consequently , high melting rate would result into floods and decrease in the ice cap with just a 1 C rise in the temperature , wheat yields in Pakistan are projected to decline by 6-9 per cent an even smaller rise can several impact cash crops like cotton.

Secretary Zafar Hasan said that Pakistan agriculture sector has already witnessed number of floods of 2010 and 2011 which caused $7.6 billion in accumulated damages and losses, which is a huge amount for an economy like Pakistan.

Therefore, realising the threat of climate change, Pakistan is one of the first signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and now going to actively participate in COP-24 Katowice, 2018, he said.

He said that using education as an intervention approach advocacy and public awareness is being increased.

The billion trees a forestation project was the country’s largest plantation drive which is being taken forward by launching the 10 billion tree plantation in next 5 years, he added.

He said that we are in the formulation of 12th Five Year Plan to reduce hunger include establishing food security information system, improving food accessibility and creating awareness towards food consumption.

The round table conference was attended by the high officials of the Ministry, FAO representative of Pakistan Ms Mina Dowlatchahi and WFP representative in Pakistan Finbarr Curran who appreciated the efforts of the Center for Rural Economy a project of MOPDR for organising such a valuable round-table conference.