ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will arrive Friday (Sept 9) on a two-day visit of Pakistan to express solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan braving a colossal climate-induced natural disaster caused by unprecedented rains and floods across the country.
During the visit from 9-10 September, the UN Secretary-General, Guterres, will have meetings with the Pakistani leadership and senior officials to exchange views on the national and global response to this catastrophe caused by climate change.
According to Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar, the secretary-general will travel to areas most impacted by the climate catastrophe. He will interact with displaced families and first responders in the field, and oversee the UN’s humanitarian response work in support of the government’s rescue and relief efforts for millions of affected people.
The secretary-general’s visit will further raise global awareness about the massive scale of this calamity and the resulting loss of life and widespread devastation. “It will contribute towards enhancing commensurate and coordinated international response to the humanitarian and other needs of the 33 million affected Pakistanis,” the spokesperson added.
He added that the secretary-general actively supported the US$ 160 million UN “Flash Appeal” to fund Pakistan’s flood response plan and contributed a powerful video message at its launch event held simultaneously in Islamabad and Geneva on 30 August 2022.
He stated that the UNSG has been consistently stressing the linkage of such disasters with the impacts of climate change and warning the international community about the existential threat to our planet in case climate change was not addressed in a timely and effective manner.
“The secretary general’s visit will also spotlight the importance of sustained international support for Pakistan through the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, and for building resilience against future climate shocks,” he added.
Responding to a question during his weekly media briefing on Thursday as to whether the ongoing grave human rights violations in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir would also be taken up with the UN secretary general, the spokesperson said that the primary focus of the visit will be on the flood-hit areas.
However, he added that in such high-level interactions other issues such as regional peace, situation in Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir also come under discussion.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022