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Development of institutional and policy setup on food security and climate change in Sindh

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Mr.Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Chief Minister, Government of Sindh

Subject: Request for taking urgent measures for development of institutional and policy setup on food security an climate change in Sindh.

Dear Sir

As you know ` that Sindh despite being richest in natural resources is highly food insecure province in Pakistan. "Despite having 14 million acres under crop cultivation in Sindh, over 71 per cent households in the province are food insecure — the highest level of food insecurity among the provinces and region. Of these food insecure households, 34pc are food insecure with moderate hunger and 17pc are food insecure with severe hunger, according to a report drafted by the provincial planning and development department

Eight of Sindh’s all districts in Sindh , most of them in the southern part of the province and in its coastal belt were identified as having ‘extremely poor’ conditions for access to food.

Despite this No law and policy is available ensuring food security to the people in Sindh. However, Sindh Government in its report of 2013 on MDGs have reiterated its commitment to take efforts to halve hunger and reduce food insecurity. Similarly, Minister Agriculture in his message on the official website of the department promises for taking efforts for food security.

More alarming fact is that already fragile condition of food security is prone to affects ofclimate change. Sindh is very vulnerable the affects of change. Increasing ocean acidification and sea level rise has been affecting marine life and poses exposure of threats to the coastal community, such as displacement and assets losses . "Like other parts of the world, there is an evidence of sea level rise along the Pakistan coast also"

Sindh along with entire Pakistan has witnessed effects of severe weather such as 2010 flood and recent drought in Tharparkar desert and its impacts internal migration, destroyed livelihood, crop, livestock and infrastructure. Sindh has low gradient in comparison to other provinces of Pakistan, therefore the flood water stagnates for long time and poses serious challenge for authorities. However, some of the problem emerged earlier but are being aggravated due to climatic variations include degradation of Indus delta and coastal landscape in Sindh.

There is also an emerging concern that land in coastal area is being intruded by sea water, fresh water lakes are converted into saline, drought in desert and Kachho areas are posing challenge for food and livelihood.

Besides, the times of sowing and harvesting of various crops as well as stages of growth are also changing due to weather variability and climate change effects. The extent and pattern of insect and pest attacks on crops are also changing due to climate which poses huge challenge to farmers such as increasing their input costs and reluctantly the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides and pesticides has tremendously increased.

A report of metrological department depicts climate change situation in this way " Compounding these problems are the expected increased risks to the coastal areas and the Indus deltaic region due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, saline sea water intrusion and increasing cyclonic activity in the Arabian Sea. The Indus Delta is already located in the intense heat zone and any rise in temperature would impact human health due to heat strokes, diarrhea, cholera, vector borne diseases; and human settlements due to frequent floods, droughts and cyclones. In this region, temperature is likely to increase by 4°C till 2100 and rainfall is going to be highly variable on temporal and spatial scale. The deltaic region would not only be affected by the local weather conditions but also weather activities Upstream Indus and over the neighboring sea in the south due to climate change

After eighteen amendment climate and environment have been provincial subject. But unfortunately Sindh has not yet developed any clear policy or strategy to address the issues emerging due to climate change. Though national climate change policy has been adapted and provides clear framework and outline, but there are hardly any serious efforts at provincial level to develop a provincial policy. Climate change has become reality, but looking into the political priorities in Sindh it still lacks the clear vision and climate change looks like a luxury.There is no separate institutional arrangement in the province.

Thus there is dire need of establishment of institutional mechanism on climate change at Sindh level and formulation of climate change plans at province and district level. Similarly Need of food security policy and plans at provincial and district level are dire need of time.

Keeping all this in consideration, it is demanded

1- Provincial climate change policy and institutional setup should be developed at the earliest

2- Provincial Food security policy should be developed in participatory way.

3- While developing Provincial climate change policy and food security policy, international treaties, policies and commitments should be kept in consideration

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