Pakistan on Monday proposed creating a separate ‘loss and damage’ financing window by international financial institutions as an immediate response to climate-change-induced natural disasters in developing countries.
This was raised by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in New York on Monday at a special, high-level event organized by Pakistan on ‘Loss & Damage: New and Additional Financing’ on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Foreign Office said in a release from Islamabad.
The session was attended by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry – who also holds the presidency for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP-27), all major blocs in the climate change negotiations, as well as representative of the Green Climate Fund.
Bilawal shared details of the recent floods in Pakistan, which had impacted one in seven Pakistanis, around 33 million people, apart from affecting more than half of the country.
The floods, Bilawal said, “were a clear manifestation of the unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.”
Initial estimates, he said, suggested that the total damage caused by this climate-induced disaster could be upwards of $30 billion, equivalent to 10% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product.
He emphasized that over the years, developing countries such as Pakistan have disproportionately suffered from the vagaries of climate change while contributing a minuscule amount to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
“While contributing only 0.8% to GHG emissions, Pakistan was consistently among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world vis-à-vis the impact of climate change,” Bilawal stated.
While highlighting a proposal put forward by Pakistan, as Chair of the G77, and China to include discussions on loss and damage finance on the agenda of COP-27, he called for creating a separate loss and damage financing window by international financial institutions.
“Development of a standing debt restructuring modality by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for generating an immediate response to climate-induced natural disasters in the developing countries,” he urged.
He expressed the hope that a decision would be reached for devising a financial mechanism to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage”.
Shoukry agreed that ‘loss and damage’ was a reality and that it would need to be addressed at CoP-27 holistically.
He also referred to the UN Secretary-General’s call on developing adequate “early warning systems”, which could play an effective role in averting and minimizing the loss and damage from climate disasters.