ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has underlined strong regional and international cooperative mechanisms to address serious threat posed by Desert Locusts to the food security of Pakistan and the region.
This was stressed at 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, the United Kingdom and Japan for joining hands with Pakistan in thwarting the Desert Locust threat.
The Minister further acknowledged the important contribution of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in extending support to Pakistan. The National Plan of Action, which was devised in consultation with the provincial governments, is an illustration of the whole-of-government approach and is delivering substantive results.
The briefing to members of the diplomatic community and international partners is part of the on-going efforts, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, to mitigate the threat of Desert Locust since the declaration of National Emergency on 31 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).
It was said that Pakistan has been sharing information and data on weekly basis, on its locust control operations at the bordering areas with all members of SWAC, comprising Iran, Afghanistan and India.
In the spirit of enhancing international cooperation, 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 China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Oman, Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Japan, Afghanistan, Australia, Italy, European Commission, Turkmenistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, 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.