Mithi, Tharparkar: Members of civil society organizations, environmentalists, climatologists, development experts have called for addressing root-causes of poverty as it is building up pressure on natural resources in the country. They said that poverty, hunger, rising cost of living have resulted in rapid exploitation of the natural resources and speeded up incidence of tree cutting.
However, the desertification, caused by loss of vegetation cover, will pick up the pace further, if efficacious efforts are not taken by the government to check misuse of natural resources, illogical tree cutting, they warned. They expressed these views on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought marked here by the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) in collaboration with UNDP- Small Grant Program, Drynet network, and International Land Coalition (ILC)
Theme of this year is ‘Forests keep drylands working’. The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed every year on 17 June all over the world to sensitize the public and policy makers to the increasing dangers of desertification, land degradation and drought.
Different programs were arranged to raise awareness among the locals about the dangers of deforestation and desertification and urged them to support its activities for greening the drylands, Bharu Mal Armani, SCOPE’s coordinator, told Pakistan Times.
He said that interaction among poverty, environment and natural resource exploitation is typically complex, but can be understood at the local level. “Local economic pressures can result in the over-exploitation of land, resulting in the further marginalization of the rural poor, already referred to as the “poorest amongst the poor,” he remarked.
However, land conservation, he pointed out, might constitute an ‘enabling platform’ through which an extensive range of sustainable development issues could be successfully addressed. He said that SCOPE remains an active player in the implementation of the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and has been working for years in the drought-hit areas of the Tharparkar district and has engaged local communities to green the Thar desert by planting trees of different indigenous species.
On this occasion members of civil society organized a candlelight vigil march in Mithi, which aimed to draw local people’s attention towards mounting problem of the misuse of natural resources, illegal tree-cutting and removal of vegetative cover and overgrazing, said Bharumal Armani.
The members of civil society organizations, which joined SCOPE’s efforts for raising awareness about the expanding desertification, urged the government to implement National Action Program (NAP), the country’s strategic document for the fight against Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought (DLDD).
Bharu Mal Amrani said: “The country’s sustainable development squarely depends on sustainable land management for adaptation to climate change.”