At Geneva conference, Pakistan secures pledges of over $10bn
- Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group pledges $4.2bn for flood rehabilitation and reconstruction in Pakistan, World Bank pledges $2bn, while Saudi Arabia, ADB, AIIB each commit $1bn
Pledges poured in with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announcing that a total amount of $8.57 billion was secured in commitments in the first plenary of the day-long ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ in Geneva. The second plenary commenced with Saudi Arabia committing $1 billion and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank pledging $1 billion as well, said the information minister in a separate tweet.
According to Pakistan’s Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework, which it officially presented during the conference, $16.3 billion will be needed in all. Pakistan’s government aims to cover half that amount with “domestic resources”, including its development budget and through public-private partnerships.
But it was looking to the international community to cover the remainder, with the hope that the conference will generate significant pledges of support.
In a Twitter post, Marriyum stated “the first plenary of day-long Geneva conference culminated in generous outpouring of the international community. EU pledged $93 million, Germany $88 million, China $100 million, IDB $4.2 billion, World Bank $2 billion, Japan $77 million, ADB $1.5 billion, USAID $100 million, France $345 million — total $8.57 billion.”
In a massively positive development, chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, Muhammad Al Jasser pledged $4.2 billion for flood rehabilitation and reconstruction in Pakistan.
“I am pleased to announce that the Islamic Development Bank Group, as part of contributing to the achievement of Pakistan’s climate resilience and development objectives, pledges a financing amount of $4.2 billion over the next three years,” said Muhammad Al Jasser at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva on Monday.
In addition, the World Bank also committed $2 billion for the purpose while USAID pledged $100 million. Moreover, Japan committed $77 million and Germany committed €84 million.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Shixin Chen stated that his organisation will “prioritise up to $1 billion”.
Meanwhile, in the second phase of the conference, Saudi Arabia announced $1 billion in pledge for flood aid while France enhanced its commitment to $345 million.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank also pledged $1 billion, said Marriyum in a tweet.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced support to the reconstruction of Pakistan of over €500 million .
“The EU and its member states were among the first to react when the floods hit. We stood by you then and we show our solidarity today,” she said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had earlier announced a comprehensive framework document for flood recovery and rehabilitation of Pakistan.
Addressing the conference co-hosted by the United Nations (UN) and the Pakistan government, PM Shehbaz stated that completion of the plan will take three years.
The PM had called upon the international community to support Pakistan financially.
“The most important link for this framework will be the financial resourcing,” he said. “The plan is broad and it will be presented in the next session of conference.”
The first part of the framework will focus on flood recovery and reconstruction while the second part will prioritise reconstruction of highways and railways as well as setting up of a warning system.
“Pakistan’s ability to recover from the large-scale disaster will hinge on the speed of these actions and your support will make a huge difference,” the PM told participating nations.
Citing a disaster needs assessment prepared by the government of Pakistan in October 2022, he stated that the scale of financial burden on Pakistan from floods is $33 billion which is 8% of the country’s GDP.
“One can go on and on about the records broken by the disaster but we are racing against time. The relief work is not over yet especially in parts of Sindh and Balochistan,” he said.
In Sindh, the water has yet to be drained from agricultural lands, the PM said.
“We need to give the affectees their future back,” he stressed.
PM Shehbaz thanked the friendly countries for helping save thousands of lives and restoring communication in affected areas through immediate funding.
He also thanked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for holding the conference.
Speaking at the event, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto urged the international community to help the country in flood recovery and rehabilitation as the government is now undertaking the exercise of “building back better”.
He thanked all countries that disbursed financial assistance and aid to Pakistan in a bid to deal with flood catastrophe.
“The magnitude of this disaster is huge and we are prioritising resilient recovery and reconstruction,” he said. “The government of Pakistan has worked with the UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Union to prepare a comprehensive framework document for flood recovery and rehabilitation.”
According to Bilawal, half of the framework will be implemented from Pakistan’s own resources while the remaining half would be covered through international aid.
“We will indulge in rebuilding and rehabilitation of homes, roads, bridges and infrastructure and we will need support of international partners.”
Macroeconomic fiscal reform agenda
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that the support from friendly countries will not only help with flood relief but also create fiscal space for the country which will help Pakistan implement the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
“Pakistan remains committed to its international obligations and is on track to introduce a macroeconomic fiscal reform agenda that will focus on increasing revenues, and creating more fiscal space for reconstruction and rehabilitation.”
Pakistan needs help and global cooperation and “we urgently need short term financing.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “massive investments” to help Pakistan recover from last year’s devastating floods, saying the country was “doubly victimised” by climate change and a “morally bankrupt global financial system”.
“No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan,” he said while expressing solidarity with the country’s people.
“Despite enduring problems, the giving spirit of Pakistani people has shown brightly,” he said. “My heart broke when I saw firsthand the devastation caused by floods.”
IsDB Group Chairman Muhammad Al Jasser pledged $4.2 billion on behalf of the institution over the next three years aimed at fulfilling Pakistan’s climate resilience and development objectives
In a video message, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged $10 million in additional aid support.
He also said that Paris was ready to support Pakistan in its talks with financial institutions, as the country faces huge losses from recent floods.
To meet the huge needs, Pakistan and the United Nations co-hosted the international conference in Geneva, urging countries, organisations and businesses to step up with financial and other support towards a long-term recovery and resilience plan.
French President Emmanuel Macron, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also addressed the conference via video links.
Around 450 participants from some 40 countries registered for the event, including representatives of the World Bank and several multilateral development banks.
“The waters may have receded, but the impacts are still there,” Achim Steiner, head of the UN development agency, told AFP ahead of the conference, describing the floods as “a cataclysmic event”.
“There is a massive reconstruction and rehabilitation effort that needs to be undertaken.”
The floods, which have killed more than 1,700 people and affected some 33 million others, have still not receded in some parts of the country.
The UN children’s agency said Monday that as many as 4 million children were still living near contaminated and stagnant flood waters.
Millions of people remain displaced, and those who have been able to go back home are often returning to damaged or destroyed homes and mud-covered fields.
Food prices have soared, and the number of people facing food insecurity has doubled to 14.6 million, according to UN figures.
The World Bank has estimated that up to 9 million more people could be dragged into poverty as a result of the flooding.
“This is a pivotal moment for the global communities to stand with the people of Pakistan,” Khalil Hashmi, the country’s UN envoy in Geneva, told reporters.
But he emphasised that the conference would be “the beginning of a multiyear process”.
Pakistan and the UN stress that Monday’s event is broader than a traditional pledging conference, as it seeks to set up a long-term international partnership focused on recovery, but also on boosting Pakistan’s climate resilience.
Flood victims in Sindh: World Bank approves financing for 5 projects
Pakistan, with the world’s fifth-largest population, is responsible for less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions but is one of the most vulnerable nations to extreme weather caused by global warming.
The country “is essentially a victim of a world that is not acting fast enough on the challenge of climate change”, Steiner said.