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Pakistan

'My voice is entirely at service of Pakistan': UN chief

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a briefing at the National Flood Response Coordination Centre alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif
Published September 9, 2022
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that his “voice is entirely at the service of Pakistan,” which is currently reeling from the devastation caused by rains and floods.

The UN chief said this while attending a briefing at the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) alongside PM Shehbaz. Guterres appreciated all those working tirelessly to support the victims of this “unprecedented natural disaster”.

“Humanity has declared war on nature and nature is striking back. But nature is blind, it is not striking back on those who have contributed more to the war on nature.

Pakistan has contributed very little to climate change but is one of the countries most affected by its consequences,“ he said.

He said it should be those that are more responsible for climate change that should have to face these kinds of challenges.

The UN chief said that it was the international community’s obligation to massively “support Pakistan in these circumstances”.

“It is absolutely essential that this is recognised by the international community, especially by those countries that have contributed more to climate change.”

UN Chief António Guterres arrives as Pakistan reels from flood disaster

“My voice is entirely at the service of Pakistan and its people. We know our contribution is limited […] but we are totally committed.”

The UN chief said that he will do his best to raise awareness in the international community about the current situation in Pakistan and to mobilize the full UN system in support of the country.

Address at MOFA

Guterres also spoke alongside Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto at an event held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday. He said that some regions of Pakistan witnessed the wettest August in history that brought 8 times higher rainfall.

“My heart goes out to the people who lost loved ones and suffered other kinds of losses. No country deserves this fate and Pakistan contributes nothing to global warming,” he said. “It is paying a deadly price of fossil fuels being used all over the world. Even today, emissions are rising which is insanity and collective suicide.”

He urged the global community to “stop this madness and invest in new world energy now.”

If this crisis deepens, most countries are not even prepared. Foreign countries should aid the nations hit with climate change, he said.

Guterres directed the developed nations to prepare a roadmap for climate support.

“It is not a future event, it is happening right now in front of us,” he cautioned. “This should be highlighted in COP 27.”

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP 27, is set to take place in November 2022.

Guterres promised that UN would support relief efforts in Pakistan. “We and civil society are making good use of the funds disbursed.” According to him, Pakistan needed massive financial support for relief.

He stated that he would check impact of floods in different areas of country on Saturday.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he “had a very productive meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres earlier today.”

“He has shown empathetic leadership to highlight sufferings of the flood victims. The international community should come forward to help Pakistan that is undergoing horrors of climate change,” the prime minister said.

Record monsoon rains and glacier melt in northern mountains have triggered floods that have swept away houses, roads, railway tracks, bridges, livestock, and crops, and killed more than 1,391 people. As per the government, the lives of nearly 33 million people have been disrupted.

The UN chief arrived in Pakistan earlier on Friday to express solidarity with the government and people during the flood devastation caused by the floods.

The secretary-general will travel to areas most impacted by the climate catastrophe, stated a curtain raiser statement released by the Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday.

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