COP27: Shehbaz points to Pakistan’s net-zero direction after flood recovery

Calls for creating global climate risk index, including loss and damage needs in COP27 core agenda; seeks help with widening gap of needs in winter free of debt

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday called on the world to come forward and help it with a widening recovery needs after it suffered more than $30 billion in losses and winter sets in on millions of flood hit people.

He also called on creating a global climate index under the United Nations while redefining climate finance.

Addressing the main climate change COP-27 summit in Egyptian tourist destination Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday evening, Shehbaz pointed to the disproportionate damage and losses suffered by Pakistan compared to its contributions to climate change.

“The priorities of Pakistan have never been clearer,” he said as he gave an overview of the destruction caused by the floods.

He added that the global goal on adaptation needs to be prioritized both in terms of financing and timelines.

Shehbaz complained that the world has yet to see the promised half-and-half balance in adaptation and mitigation in finance.

“The current financing gap is too high to sustain any real recovery needs for those on the front lines of climate catastrophe,” he said.

In a veiled reference to Pakistan’s current situation, he demanded that loss and damage must be included in the core agenda of COP27 to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of those trapped in a crisis of public financing fueled by debt and yet have to fund a climate disaster on their own.

“This is simply unjust and unfair to say the least,” he asserted.

Shehbaz went on to demand that climate finance must be clearly defined.

He said that “new, additional and sustained resources with a transparent mechanism which meet the needs of developing and vulnerable countries with speed and scale.”

“There should now be total clarity on what actually counts as climate transfer and what counts as development funds as they often overlap,” he stressed, noting that despite discussions on it for years, even the basics have yet to be agreed upon.

Urging to the world to come good on their promises, he said that pledges made at the Copenhagen COP15 in 2009 for mobilizing $100 billion per annum by 2020, have still not been realized.

“They need to be enhanced given the increased frequency and intensity of extreme climate events,” he suggested.

Pakistan also called for creating a global climate risk index of all parties of the UNSCC must be created under the auspices of the UN system.

“Projects from the most vulnerable countries on this index must get prioritized and speedy approvals for climate finance.”

Lastly, he said that climate mitigation ambition needs to be revived with a clear burden-share formula.

“The promise of common but differentiated responsibilities must be respected as we race towards a much higher trajectory of warming than defined in the Paris agreement,” he asserted.

He continued that Pakistan will move towards a net-zero plan but first it was important for the country to recover from its current climate induced devastation.

“Unless there is a transformational shift in the flow of capacities finance and technology that reverses the pyramid of climate capital, the bargain between the north and the south will not work,” he warned.

Pointing towards the particular case of Pakistan, Shehbaz said that the country was grappling with rising import bill on account of meeting domestic food and energy needs, while at the same time they had to redirect all other available resources to meet the needs of victims of climate induced disasters.

“We had to dish out about $360 million through a program called Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) to provide an amount of $113 per household to about 3 million households in flood affected areas,” he said.

Widening gap

Appreciating the support provided by countries across the world, Shehbaz said that winter was coming and there is an urgent need to provide shelter, homes, medical treatment and food packages to the millions displaced by floods in different provinces.

“We are spending billions of rupees from our own meager resources,” he said while enunciating the impossible choices faced.

On the one hand we have to cater for our food security for the common man by spending billions of dollars while on the other we have to spend billions more to protect flood affected people from further miseries and difficulties, he said.

“How on earth can one expect from us that we will undertake this gigantic task on our own,” an exasperated Shehbaz said.

“The gap is humongous and it is widening by the day,” he lamented.

“It is the duty and responsibility of the global north to understand our difficulties and our plight.”

Shehbaz went on to term climate-induced disasters as “man made disasters”.

“If we have to fight and rebuild and repair our infrastructure, which has to be resilient and adaptive, then of course we can only do so through additional funding and not through additional loans and debts because this will be a financial death trap.”

He hoped that the conference would listen to the message loud and clear and convey it to all those who have the power and financial muscle to change the course of history.

“It is now or never,” he said, adding, “For us there is no Planet-B.”

climate change

Floods 2022

COP27

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