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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Wednesday that the Climate Change Ministry is set to rollout the first-ever policy draft of the country’s carbon credits trading in the international market at Climate Change Council.

The Senate standing committee on climate change meeting which was held here with Senator Seemee Ezdi in the chair was given a detailed briefing by Asif Haider Shah, the secretary for the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, about credit-based trading mechanisms linked to international carbon markets.

The secretary briefed the committee on climate change’s two agenda items mainly, the carbon market policy guidelines and Pakistan’s strategy for COP-28 meeting with a special focus on the operationalization of loss and damage fund.

Earlier, Ezdi expressed resentment over repeated delays in convening the body meeting due to the letters of postponement sent by the ministry.

She added that the meeting was held after three months and was the first since the culmination of the previous government, adding writing a letter to the committee chairman to postpone the meeting is not acceptable.

The secretary for climate change mentioned that trading in carbon markets was a tricky subject evolving every year, whereas, the country had no such framework in place to deal with it.

However, the World Bank was requested to prepare the document which demanded two-year duration for its consultants to prepare the policy document.

The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) also took up the matter and asked to expedite the procedure and therefore, the next year deadline was set to finalise the document, he added. “We will be open for public and private investments in carbon market. Moreover, the ministry will seek the committee’s nod and then will send it to SIFC,” he added.

Shah informed the committee that the carbon market comprised of compliance-based carbon market and the voluntary market.

He added that many countries did not have this framework on carbon markets, whereas, only 40 European Union countries have it. “The better the legislative and regulatory framework of Pakistan, the more valuable carbon credits would be sold internationally,” he said.

“We are about to embark upon stage one of the process to establish policy guidelines that focuses on capitalising on carbon potential, opening market for public and private sectors, opens market to the extent of 50% of Pakistan’s conditional NDC target (280.5 MTCO2e),” he said.

Commenting on the country’s carbon sequestration potential, he said the Sindh mangroves generated some $45 million in terms of carbon credits (3 million credits per annum). Briefing on the COP-28 preparations, the secretary informed that the first two days would have high-level meetings.

The best part of the COP forum, he added, was that it made consensus-based decisions and every country had a veto power.

Last year, Pakistan was G77 plus China group chair that provided it access to many key forums and platforms at the COP-27 but this time the situation will be different. In COP-28, the focus would be on L&D operationalization, mitigation work program, global goal on adaptation, climate finance, and first global stock-take, he added.

He mentioned that the developed countries demanded to keep the Loss and Damage Fund under the World Bank but developing countries such as Pakistan want it under UNFCCC as a standalone fund.

However, Pakistan is evenly poised but will go along with G77 plus China group countries. He noted that Pakistan had limited resources for pavilion but it added more value to its efforts through quality panel discussions.

“We convene panelists of high calibre and hold quality panel discussions focused on practical solutions to the pressing environmental problems,” he added.

Besides, this time the ministry has incorporated youth, children, and minorities in its panel discussions at COP-28, whereas, it was also holding separate sessions for educating and briefing youth and children going privately to attend COP meeting for better understanding of the forum.

The ministry will take a 15-member delegation to Dubai to attend the COP meeting to be held from November 30 to December 12, 2023.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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