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World

After the initial snub, US formally invites Pakistan to President Biden’s first summit on climate

  • SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam will represent Pakistan at the summit.
  • Pakistan was not among the 40 countries initially invited to the summit when it was announced by US President Joe Biden last month.
  • The summit “will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference [COP26] this November in Glasgow [in the U.K.],” said the White House.
19 Apr 2021

Backtracking its earlier decision, largely viewed as a snub in Pakistan, the United States has now extended a formal invitation to Pakistan to participate in the global climate summit scheduled to take place virtually on April 22 and 23.

According to media reports, sources familiar with the development said that Pakistan had expressed reservations over the US decision, emphasizing that it was one of the most affected countries in South Asia on the climate change index, and had done a lot to minimize the climate effects.

As per sources, the Foreign Office has informed the Prime Minister Office of the latest development. Upon receiving the message of the Foreign Office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed his Adviser on Climate Change Ameen Aslam to represent Pakistan in the virtual climate summit and effectively portray Pakistan’s achievement at the forum.

Last month, US President Joe Biden had announced a virtual global climate summit but had not invited Pakistan, while Bangladesh and India were among the invitees.

The White House in a statement said that the summit will try “to galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the crisis”.

“It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference [COP26] this November in Glasgow [in the U.K.],” said the White House.

Laying out the invitation criteria, the statement further noted that, the summit brings together countries that are responsible for “80 percent of global emissions and global Gross Domestic Product” and “demonstrate strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy”.

The government had faced criticism from the opposition, which described the exclusion as a foreign policy failure.

Therefore, the Foreign Office had been instructed to handle the matter carefully, and to reach out to concerned quarters in Washington, including the White House to highlight the steps taken by Pakistan against climate change and global warming, including the Billion Tree Tsunami project.