LAHORE (Agencies): The Provincial Government of Punjab and Food & Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) have signed, on Tuesday May 16, 2023, a Unilateral Trust Funds (UTF) agreement for the co-financial contribution from the Punjab government to a Green Climate Fund project called “Transforming Indus Basin with Climate Resilient Agriculture and Water Management”.

The project aims to increase resilience to climate change among the most vulnerable farmers in the Indus basin and to strengthen the Government of Pakistan’s capacity to support communities in adapting to climate change.

The project has been allocated from the Green Climate Fund a grant amounting to USD 34.99 million. The Government of Punjab is adding USD 7.99 million and the Government of Sindh USD 4.6 million. 

The project will strengthen institutional and regulatory systems of agriculture, irrigation and On-farm water management for climate responsive planning and development, increase generation of climate information and its effective use in decision making, enhance adaptive capacity of the farming community, and create awareness about climate change risks and develop stakeholder capacity in these aspects. 

The UTF agreement was signed by the Secretary Agriculture Government of Punjab, Iftikhar Ali Sahoo and the FAO Representative in Pakistan, Florence Rolle in the Civil Secretariat Lahore. Chairman Planning and Development Board, Ali Sarfraz Hussain, Secretary P&D Board Dr. Muhammad Sohail Anwar Chaudhary, Director General On-Farm Water (OFWM) Management, Member Environment and Climate Change P&D Board and Chief Planning and Evaluation Cell Agriculture, Rana Mahmood were also present on the occasion. On other side, Dr Aamer Irshad Head of Program FAO Pakistan, Berejena Emelda, Technical Advisor and Project Manager Transforming Indus Basin with Climate Resilient Agriculture and Water Management and Jam Muhammad Khalid, Provincial Coordinator have represented the FAO Pakistan. 

FAO Representative, Florence Rolle, while highlighting the importance of the project, said that under the coordination and leadership of the DG OFWM, together with the irrigation department and extension wing, we aim to bring about a tangible positive change in the lives of farmers and communities in South Punjab. By strengthening institutional and regulatory systems, generating climate information, and enhancing adaptive capacity, we will equip stakeholders with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively respond to climate challenges. Through this partnership, we are determined to make a lasting impact on the ground, building a resilient agricultural sector that can thrive in the face of climate uncertainty, she added. 

The project will benefit total of 200, 000 vulnerable households of which 125,000 households are in 5 districts in South Punjab Multan, Muzzafargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Lodhran and Khanewal and 75,000 households are in 3 districts in Sindh Sanghar, Umer Kot and Badin. The FAO, as a technical international agency is the executing agency and will implement the project jointly with Agriculture and Irrigation Departments.

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