With Pakistan reeling from the climate-induced catastrophe of excess rainfalls which has left a third of the country inundated, France on Tuesday stepped forward and offered to host an international conference aimed at contributing to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-hit areas of Pakistan.
This was stated in a joint communique issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The communique, issued simultaneously from Islamabad and Paris, said that Shehbaz and Macron had agreed on mobilizing international support for Pakistan to help recover and rebuild its economy on a sustainable footing in the aftermath of the recent devastating floods in Pakistan related to climate change.
France would host the moot to draw the relevant International Financial partners and the development partners.
With the help of climate-resilient reconstruction-related financing, the transition to renewable energy in Pakistan will be accelerated.
Support for rehab, reconstruction
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged leaders of key European nations to enhance trade ties with Pakistan apart from seeking their continued support for the lengthy rehabilitation and expensive reconstruction phases
He said this during meetings with leaders of European countries, including France, Spain and Austria, on Tuesday in New York on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Meeting with Macron
In a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.
Noting the importance Islamabad accords to its long-standing friendly ties with Paris, Shehbaz stressed the importance of further strengthening these relations across the trade and investment, energy, agriculture, information technology, defence and security, and higher education sectors.
Thanking France for its solidarity and immediate support for the flood-affected people in the form of tents, water pumps and a team of doctors and nurses, Shehbaz provided Macron with details of the devastation caused by the floods and the resultant dire situation in Pakistan.
The prime minister reminded Macron that despite having a negligible contribution to global carbon emissions, Pakistan was among the most vulnerable to its devastation – this year’s unprecedented floods were just the latest form of its manifestation.
He hoped that France would continue to contribute to the government’s efforts in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase after the floods.
Noting that climate change was a potential area of cooperation between the two countries and collective global action, the two leaders agreed to work closely to identify ways and means to support Pakistan in its efforts to come out of this formidable challenge and build back a resilient infrastructure with the help of international support.
Shehbaz also met with Spanish President Pedro Sanchez in New York on Tuesday.
After reviewing the state of bilateral exchanges and trade and investment levels, the two sides agreed to utilize the existing institutional mechanisms to fully realize the potential of bilateral relations.
Shehbaz shared details of the devastation wrought by floods across Pakistan this year due to climate-induced natural disasters and reiterated that Pakistan remained the most vulnerable to climate change despite being a negligible contributor to global carbon emissions.
He thanked Madrid for support and solidarity with Pakistan in a very difficult situation and hoped the international community would step up to help mitigate the adverse effects of the floods through active participation in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.
The premier also stressed the importance of further deepening the multifaceted Pakistan-Spain relations – with a particular emphasis on inter-parliamentary ties, security and defence cooperation, collaboration in the energy sector, and people-to-people links.
On regional relations, Shehbaz underscored Pakistan’s support for an inclusive, peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan.
Recalling the grave humanitarian situation faced by people in Afghanistan, Shehbaz stressed that sustained, practical and meaningful engagement of the international community with Afghanistan was essential to ensuring the welfare of the Afghan people and for promoting the shared goals of peace, security and development in the country.
Shehbaz also invited Sanchez to visit Pakistan.
Meeting Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer
Shehbaz also met with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Tuesday. The two discussed bilateral ties and recent floods in Pakistan.
Shehbaz urged that it was imperative for the global community to take collective action in a meaningful and substantive address to the climate challenge.
He also highlighted the potential for enhancing mutually beneficial collaborations in diverse areas, particularly energy, IT, higher education, and climate change.
General Assembly session
Earlier, Shehbaz attended the opening session of the High-Level General Debate of the 77th Session of UN General Assembly (UNGA77).
On the sidelines, he met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jessica Arden in an informal chat.