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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Pakistan will convene a one-day seminar in Islamabad today to exchange knowledge on innovative climate change adaptation and mitigation practices that rural communities and smallholder farmers can adopt to increase production and improve household incomes. The role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) in furthering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will also be discussed.

In Pakistan, agriculture provides employment for approximately 25 million people. Over the last few decades, Pakistan has suffered from alternating cycles of extreme flooding in irrigated plains and prolonged droughts in its arid zones. Per capita water availability has fallen below 1,200 cubic meters and it is estimated that it will be reduced by half by mid-century. Water security for both agriculture and domestic use is becoming critical, and climate resilience practices need to be transferred to the rural population on an urgent basis.

The seminar, which brings together experts and practitioners from IFAD, Pakistan and the international development community, will examine the impacts of climate change on access to water, food and markets in rural areas and discuss solutions that can be adopted by rural communities and smallholder farmers in Pakistan and globally.

“IFAD renews its commitment to working alongside the Government of Pakistan to promote rural transformation, improve rural livelihoods, and increase rural communities’ ability to adapt to the effects of climate change,” Stephane Mousset, IFAD’s Director and Chief of Staff, prior to the event.

Speakers at the event will include: Stephane Mousset, Director and Chief of Staff, Office of the President and the Vice-President, IFAD; Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Minister for National Food Security and Research; Sartaj Aziz, Minister, Ministry of Planning Development and Reform; Arif Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Finance; MarviMemon, Minister of State and Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme; Khizar Hayat Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change; Khalid Mehboob, Independent Chairman of the Council, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Yusuf Zafar, Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council; and IFAD experts.

The seminar’s focus on climate change impacts on water resources comes at a crucial time. “In Pakistan, significant agricultural production and an increasing population place high demands on water resources. Approximately 90 per cent of the country’s water is used for agriculture,” said Hubert Boirard, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Pakistan.

“IFAD’s work in Pakistan is aligned with the government’s development and policy agenda and is evolving. We are including climate change resilience and water resources management in all of the rural development activities we invest in,” he added.

Pakistan’s rural development objectives are linked to strengthening the rural economy, improving the quality of life of rural people and enhancing their living conditions. Provincial governments are committed to increasing agricultural productivity and food security, augmenting the supply of critical water resources, improving rural infrastructure, and delivering social amenities that meet community needs.

IFAD has financed 27 rural development programmes and projects in Pakistan since 1978, with a total IFAD investment of $730 million or $2.51 billion when co-funding from the Pakistan government and others are included. These projects have directly benefitted more than 2.4 million rural households.