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PM seeks debt relief, climate compensation

  • Speaks at the COP27 climate conference alongside UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Published November 8, 2022
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said his country would need debt relief and would seek compensation for climate damage as it recovers from catastrophic floods that cost the country some $30 billion.

Speaking on Monday at the COP27 climate conference alongside UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan’s escalating public debt was hampering its recovery.

“Millions of people are going into winter without shelter or livelihood,” Sharif said. “Women and children are still looking to us to protect their basics needs.”

Pakistan and other climate-vulnerable countries are demanding that the UN climate talks this year in Egypt take steps to mobilize “loss and damage” funds for disaster-hit nations, and some say rich nations have a duty to pay these costs because their historical emissions are mostly responsible for global warming today.

“We have mobilized every available resource toward the national relief effort,” but it is not enough, Sharif said — describing hundreds of broken bridges across the country, as well as stagnant lake water now fouling southern agricultural landscape.

COP27 summit to begin with plea to discuss climate compensation

Guterres, who visited Pakistan in September to tour the flood damage, urged international financial institutions like the World Bank and to leaders at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia to reform policies that govern debt relief and concessional loan decisions so as to help middle-income countries like Pakistan focus on rebuilding rather than repayment.

“There should be a way to have a (debt) swap exchanging the payments of the debt to investments in the rehabilitation and recovery and reconstruction from natural disasters,” the secretary general said.–Reuters

APP adds: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), the total estimated damage caused by the recent floods in Pakistan was over $32 billion, i.e., around 10% of the country’s GDP.

The enormous task of rehabilitation and reconstruction would require substantial international support for Pakistan to rebuild affected areas, based on the model of sustainable development, he added

The prime minister highlighted this as he met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres here on the sidelines of COP-27 Summit being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, a press release issued by the PM Media Wing said.

Appreciating the UN Secretary-General for his solidarity with, and call for massive support to Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods in the country, he reiterated that the unprecedented flood disaster in Pakistan was a clear manifestation of the challenge posed by climate change.

The prime minister also endorsed the UN Secretary-General’s call for climate justice and climate solidarity.

Referring to the adoption of UN General Assembly resolution, last month, expressing solidarity with Pakistan, he said that Pakistan was looking forward to convening an international ‘pledging conference’ bringing together all development partners.

The prime minister also expressed appreciation for the creation of a UN inter-agency team, led by the Deputy Secretary General, to help Pakistan prepare a comprehensive rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to be presented to the Conference.

With reference to COP-27, he stated that Climate Conference was a timely opportunity for the international community to catalyse concerted international action to mitigate the impact of climate change, and promote climate justice, based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The prime minister emphasized that addressing “loss and damage” would be a key “deliverable” at COP-27.

At the request of Pakistan — in its capacity as the Chair of the G77 and China — the COP-27 has agreed, by consensus, to the proposed inclusion of an agenda item on loss and damage finance.

The bilateral meeting between the Prime Minister and the UN Secretary-General was followed by a joint press stake-out at the “Pakistan Pavilion”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

Comments

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Ch K A Nye Nov 08, 2022 07:54am
Yeah yeah... It's always somebody else's fault and we're just the victims. Years of ignoring any sort of implementation of any disaster mitigation plans have brought us to this miserable level.
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