ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has underlined the need for strong regional and international cooperation to address the serious threat posed by desert locusts to the food security in the country and the region.
This was stressed at a briefing to the diplomatic community by the National Locust Control Centre in Islamabad. The gathering was informed that the current outbreak is the worst in over 25 years and that the pest is migrating towards Pakistan from countries in the region as well as from the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea area.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam led the briefing. He appreciated the role of China, United Kingdom and Japan for joining hands with Pakistan in fighting the threat of desert locust.
The minister acknowledged the important contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in extending support to Pakistan. The government devised the National Plan of Action in consultation with the provincial governments and is delivering substantive results.
The briefing to members of the diplomatic community and international partners is part of the ongoing efforts to mitigate the threat of desert locust since the declaration of a national emergency on 31st January this year.
The participants were also informed of strong support and cooperation extended by Pakistan to the relevant regional countries under the FAO’s Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC).
The meeting was informed that Pakistan has been sharing information and data on a weekly basis over its locust control operations at the bordering areas with all members of SWAC, comprising Iran, Afghanistan and India.
Pakistan has also reached out to 17 African countries as well as several Middle Eastern States to enhance bilateral cooperation in defeating desert locust.
The event was attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives from over several countries including China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, European Commission, Germany and France. Heads of UN agencies and international financial institutions as well as members of the print and electronic media also attended the meeting.
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