PM Shehbaz honored with vice-presidency of UN COP-27 conference
The United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP27 has announced to confer the vice-presidency of the conference to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Among the 195 countries of the United Nations, Pakistan has received the honor as a result of the effective voice raised by PM Shehbaz Sharif at global and regional forums, regarding the need for the urgent climate action plan.
The presidency of the conference is with Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. He has invited PM Shehbaz to co-chair the COP-27 roundtable meeting along with the prime minister of Norway.
The conference will be held in Egypt’s Sharm-el-Sheikh from November 6-8.
It will be attended by world leaders, think tanks and the heads of governments and international financial institutions.
This will be the 27th meeting organized by the United Nations regarding the problems of climate change and the need for sustainable solutions.
Following the recent floods, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif effectively voiced for immediate action on climate change, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State and Government, Samarkand and the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York.
The prime minister’s proposal for global cooperation on addressing the challenge of climate change had received endorsement by several countries.
PM Sharif, soon after the heavy downpour in Sindh and Balochistan that threatened to turn into devastating floods, galvanized the federal government and all relevant institutions to immediately gear up for rescue and relief operations.
He also visited the affected areas on a daily basis to ensure that food, medicine, and relief goods were being dispatched to these areas.
Shehbaz Sharif, in all his pronouncements at home and in his exchanges with foreign leaders, highlighted the unprecedented nature of the colossal loss from the floods.
Consequently, the devastation in Pakistan received huge coverage in the international media and also resulted in highly supportive messages from global leaders and heads of international organizations.
The friendly countries including China, Turkey, and the Arab nations responded within no time to announce their support and solidarity with the Pakistanis in their hour of distress.
As PM Sharif ensured that the world’s response to Pakistan’s losses remained substantial, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Pakistan to personally oversee the scale of damages and assess the country’s post-flood requirements.
This helped greatly in sending a powerful message to the international community as Pakistan suffered on an unprecedented scale.
Notwithstanding his desire to stay in the country and visit the flood-affected areas on a daily basis, Shehbaz Sharif took the decision to travel to Samarkand for the SCO meeting so as to use highlight the issue of climate change in all his sideline meetings as well as in his address at the Summit.
Also, during his interactions at the UNGA, the prime minister highlighted the issue of climate change in general and the devastating floods in Pakistan in particular. The prime minister on the occasion galvanized global opinion in favour of meaningful initiatives that needed to be taken by the developed countries.
The prime minister, at the international forums, highlighted the need for a fresh charter of global understanding to assist all those countries that were vulnerable to the adverse effects of global climate change.
It was during his meeting with French President Macron in New York that the latter informed the prime minister that he had been so moved by the suffering of the people of Pakistan and would be willing to take a lead in organizing a global conference to determine Pakistan’s long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction, in the flood affected areas.
The upcoming COP27 will be another important opportunity for the prime minister to highlight this issue.
The Conference will be yet another opportunity for the prime minister to urge developed countries to abide by the provisions of the Paris Agreement 2015, in which the industrialized countries had committed to mobilizing $100 billion per year to support developing countries on a climate action plan. The commitment, made at COP15 in 2009, formalised at COP16, and reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement, reflected the importance of climate justice to developing nations to help them mitigate climate change.
This year, Pakistan is chairing the Group of 77 and China, an influential bloc of 134 developing states. In its deliberations, the government intends to pitch establishing a ‘loss and damage’ financial facility for those countries which are most vulnerable to climate change.
To lead by example domestically and to limit carbon emissions, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already launched an initiative to diversify Pakistan’s energy mix in the future by 10,000 MW into the national grid, aiming to transition from the use of fossil fuel to green energy.