ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday said Pakistan has become the biggest climate catastrophe of the century that the world has ever seen, let alone Pakistan, while adding that the World Bank estimates damages of approximately US $40 billion.
While addressing a press conference, she said that Pakistan is currently facing the biggest climate tragedy the world has ever seen. She said the estimates given by the World Bank are conservative estimates as the loss and damage from these floods is much bigger than 2010which had similar damages. “I fear that it will increase with time”, she added.
The minister said that the situation is worse in Sindh and Balochistan because of stagnant floodwater still inundating 11 districts that are below sea level making humanitarian relief an enormous challenge like we have never faced before. While briefing about “green financing”, she said it was imperative for mitigation of climate change where adaptation plan was prerequisite to ensure the climate resilience of the country.
The meeting of Taskforce on Green Financing was chaired by Sherry Rehman, in which, it was discussed at length, the framework and policies required to deal with the access to climate fund.
The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Government Effectiveness Dr Jahanzaib Khan and representatives from the Economic Affairs Division, the Foreign Affairs, and the Finance Division. Talking on the issue of Green Financing, the minister stressed, “We are unable to unlock any climate financing despite our need for $101 billion merely for EV Transition. GEF and GCF are the sole UNFCCC entities in Pakistan, dealing with climate financing. But the funding process is lengthy and ineffective.”
“Adaptation rebuilding and mitigation would require sizeable funding that is yet to be materialised. We need to look at our own ability to establish climate governance across provinces”, she added.
“We need to look for other donor platforms, which can provide our country with the much-needed resilience and recovery funds. Speed and scale for adaptation climate finance will be on the agenda for the upcoming conference of the parties (COP).”
She continued, “An estimated 20.6 million people are still in need; this is more than the combined populations of Portugal and Switzerland. The task at hand for Pakistan is serving the size of population that is equal to two countries, which is not an easy task. The rescue mission has now stopped, but we are still in the longest relief operation any country has ever seen.”
The senator said, “FAO surveys suggest that 9.4 million acres of standing crops are damaged and inundated, and this will directly put 14.6 million people in the line of a food and agriculture crisis. Our export crops are almost all wiped out, and we will even need to import food after this flood. The catastrophe will push an additional 15.4 million more people beyond the poverty line. Nutrition needs too, need a scaled-up response are 7.1 million people still are in need. 70% of the total population is women and children.”
She maintained, “Sindh sustained the most damage, where 79 per cent of the crops were destroyed. Elsewhere, the losses were 53 per cent in Balochistan, 15 per cent in Punjab, 14 per cent in KP and 25 per cent of AJK. Out of 2.1 million homes damaged in all four provinces, 89 percent were damaged in Sindh alone.”
The minister expressed her disappointment at the “antics of” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). She said that “a party that is governing in two provinces, instead of providing relief and assisting the flood victims, they are involved in politics that are extremist in its nature. They are misleading the public with “a pack of lies” while Pakistan is going through one of its biggest moments of collective national trauma. They want people, especially our youth, to take dangerous “neo-fascist” oaths and join them in long marches, which “reminds one of the grim images from Nazi Germany”. He is misguiding the public and taking them towards fascism and hate politics.”
She continued, “One and the only reason behind all this fiasco is Khan’s “selfish and blind greed” for power. He blames others for money laundering, but he was caught in the Wootton Cricket scandal. The “Cipher-gate” he started, his own president said that there is no conspiracy in it. The cipher disappeared from the PM house’s custody which itself is a crime. Misusing state secrets for personal gain is a moral and criminal breach of all norms.”
She said, “He is the biggest deep fake himself. They are taking the society to a direction from where it is hard to come back, with false divisions based on inflammatory language and hate speech. He wanted to isolate Pakistan with his Ciphergate, and even take the country to default with his IMF letter. But now, his real face is in front of everyone.”
She concluded, “While the country is going through a century-defining climate disaster, you are out there leading an “Imran Bachao Tehreek” without any shame. Are the people of Sindh and Balochistan not your people? Are people affected in KPK not your people? Is South Punjab not yours? You are using the resources of KPK and Punjab and flying around on helicopters for your political drama.” The biggest climate disaster the world has ever seen, says Federal Minister for Climate Change, should have promoted some seriousness of purpose and self-reflection. But no, he just wants Imran to be a hero even if it means Pakistan is taken to zero, she said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022