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SUPARCO leading efforts focusing food and water security issues

Lead 04-12_optSidra Cheema

SUPARCO HAS a well-developed space technology applications capability, which is serving the growing demand for satellite-based services and solutions in Pakistan. The organisation has proven capability in undertaking a number of developmental and planning projects that accrue socio-economic benefits.

This was the consensus viewpoint of the speakers at a recently organized international workshop on integrated use of space technologies for food and water security at COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad, which was hosted by SUPARCO. The event, organized by the government of Pakistan in collaboration with United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN-OOSA) and the Inter-Islamic Network On Space Sciences & Technology (ISNET), was aimed at creating awareness amongst the general public, about the importance and role that space sciences and technology can play for food and water security also in contributing to the social and economic development of the country.

Experts from UN-OOSA, WWF, ICIMOD and over 30 countries including Azerbaijan, canda, Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Italy, Iran, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Nepal, Peru, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Swaziland, Thailand, and UK attended the workshop.

At the inaugural session, Moazzam Ali Khan Jatoi, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, said that food and water security is one of the worst challenges that we face today. There is no doubt we have achieved a level of economic development but on the other side we have overlooked the most important issue of sustainable food and water security.

In his remarks, Chairman SUPARCO Ahmed Bilal said that space technology is plying an active role to inspire human minds through innovative ideas and creative inventions. “Food security, being a complex topic, stands at the intersection of many disciplines.”

He said space technology plays are various direct and indirect contributing factors like hydrology, climate change, genetic engineering applications, fertilizer availability, and loss of biodiversity, price setting and trading of the food as other internationally traded commodities.

He also said that there is also need for the transfer of technology from the developed world to the developing countries to equip them better for meeting the emerging challenges.

On the role of space technology and SUPARCO, the chairman said SUPARCO has placed major emphasis on developing a sizeable user base for satellite applications in the country by way of undertaking numerous projects of national interest in collaboration with several different federal and provincial ministries and departments.

Executive Director of ISNET, Arshad H. Siraj speaking at the ceremony said, “Almost all countries in the Near East and North Africa suffer from acute water scarcity. Despite the region’s diversity of landscapes and climates, most of these countries are unable to meet even the current water demand.”

Sergei Chernikov, Programme Officer of United Nation office for Outer Space Affairs, said on the occasion that science and technology is plying an active role for sustainable socio-economic development. Science & Technology are the most important parameters and essential tools for the development of any country. The effective use of technological advances as the key to successful and sustainable development.

All we know that water is the most crucial input for any biological activity on this planet. IN Pakistan per capita availability of water which was about 5600 cubic meter per year in 1951 has dropped to 1000 cubic meter primarily due to increase in our population. Currently Pakistan is categorized as a water scarce country.

Climate change is a worldwide phenomenon and a challenging reality. It is likely to impact almost every sector of economy with no exception to Pakistan. Increasing water storage capacity by constructing new dams ,improving water conveyance efficiency by lining of canals and water courses and increasing water use efficiency in field by adopting high efficiency drip and sprinkler irrigation system.


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