Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

FAO provides technical support to build disaster resilience in Pakistan

Under the ‘Building disaster resilience in Pakistan (BDRP)’ Programme, FAO’s Geospatial Unit has been supporting the implementation of Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy Project in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.

This month, following a similar mission to Pakistan in December 2017, Ece Aksoy, a Senior Expert on Land, Soil and Environment Studies for FAO met government ministers, trained AEZ (agroecological zonation) technical teams and assisted them in mapping. The focus of the missions was to provide assistance in defining AEZ’s.

A baseline study for BDRP indicates that Pakistan’s initial AEZ’s were divided based on physiography, climate, land use and water availability, but these zones are too broad for provincial & district-level planning” she explained.

The Senior Expert went on to describe that although many Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation measures have been piloted in Pakistan they have not been assessed or catalogued based on agroecological zone or hazard zone which is important. FAO’s support, previous work carried out by NARC (National Agricultural Research Centre), and the Punjab and Sindh Provincial Ministries’ efforts to re-define agroecological zones should help to change that.

Ms Aksoy did however express that “considering the existing ground realities and the work that has already been carried out in each province with relation to AEZ, different levels of effort will be required in each province.” She gave the example of the committee set up by the Government of Punjab that has already collected primary data from soil samples (280,000 locations) and water maps along with crop yield data from various regions in the province.

Clearly defined agroecological zones are described by FAO as a land resource mapping unit. The agroecological zonation approach defines land areas or zones on the basis of combinations of soil, landform and climatic characteristics. These zones can then become the focus of initiatives to improve the existing land-use situation by increasing production or by limiting land degradation.

‘Building Disaster Resilience in Pakistan’ is a UK/DFID funded programme aimed at directly supporting  the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). The goal of the programme is to increase Pakistan’s capability to reduce disaster risk, through better planning, preparedness, response, and resource allocation at the governmental and community levels.


1st Mission to Punjab Region, Lahore and Faisalabad provinces 4-day trainings for the AEZ study in the Punjab region.
Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, University of Agriculture-Faisalabad (Dec. 2017).


2nd  Mission to Punjab region (Faisalabad) and Sindh region (Karachi, Hyderabad and Tandojam) The workshop finalizing the AEZ study in the Punjab region.
Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, University of Agriculture-Faisalabad (Mar. 2018).