“What goes on in Pakistan (in terms of climate change) will not stay in Pakistan. The devastating recent floods in Pakistan were nature’s memo to humanity delivered through Pakistan,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman.
She was speaking at the event titled “Pre-COP 27: From Paris to Sharm El-Sheikh” jointly organised by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC), and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Wednesday.
Sherry Rehman called for inclusive global decision-making on climate change and urged the international community to not only meet the commitments made under Paris Agreement but also to set more ambitious goals at the upcoming COP 27.
She highlighted that the vulnerable population of Pakistan was already experiencing impacts of climate change on their lives through changing weather patterns, crop losses, and water shortages, placing them among the bottom 1% of climate risk pyramid.
With reference to the upcoming COP 27, the Minister said that Pakistan’s slogan would be premised around questioning the world on how long it was expected of a country like ours to tolerate this dystopia at our doorstep, especially considering that we had minimal participation in inviting its creation.
She iterated that Pakistan’s share in global contribution to climate change was minimal. There is a serious need among the elite faction in the country to rethink their carbon-rich lifestyles which directly affects vulnerable communities, she added.
She further said that in addition to major behavioural and lifestyle changes, a comprehensive risk reduction mapping, developed consultatively with the provinces and the federating units was vital for effective engagement on climate change globally. Most importantly, climate financing must be reoriented toward facilitating developing countries, she added.
She said that the materialisation of approved projects followed unrealistic timelines, amplifying the root causes of the crisis in the process. She stressed that responsible and effective mitigation lay in capacity-building in three areas, i.e., resilience, adaptation, and financing.
On the other hand, President IRS Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz shared that half of the world was susceptible to climate change in the twenty-first century. He shared that COP 27 will aim at providing viable options for climate finance, adaptation, loss and damage, and increasing ambitions.
The Ambassador of France to Pakistan, Nicolas Galey highlighted the assistance provided by the French government to Pakistan in providing relief to the victims of floods. He called for greater attention to the needs of vulnerable communities in the aftermath of natural disasters in Pakistan.
Similarly, the Ambassador of Egypt Tarek Dahroug said that climate change could reduce global economic output by 4% by 2050. He further added that efforts will be made during COP 27 to urge the international community to meet its climate financing goals without any delay.
In a video message, Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs and President COP 27 Samey Shoukry said that it was now time that the world realised that it needed to do more, act swiftly, and rather decisively to ensure a qualitative response to climate change.
He added that COP 27 was the COP of implementation and required urgent consideration of normative frameworks and operational needs.
On the occasion, Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Syed Mujtaba Hussain said that Pakistan had tried to adopt nature-based solutions via tree plantation and created protected areas as interventions during the previous COP, however, the NDCs still had serious challenges. Some of these challenges, he added, were lack of collaboration on provincial and federal levels, absence of focus groups, absence of specific reporting mechanisms for better monitoring, and lack of access to international financing platforms. He said that there was a need for policy and project-based interventions in order to come up with a workable roadmap to address this challenge.
Lastly, CEO NDRMF Bilal Anwer said that Pakistan needed to scale up ambition, and action, supported by finance. He said that no action could be completed without finances and technology transfer. He said that there were serious challenges in the form of financial gaps in mitigation, stressing that we needed to go beyond the socio-economic perspective on the debate.
Speaking about COP 27, he said that it was imperative to discuss financial mechanisms for loss and damage, scaling up support for adaptation, strengthening emission reduction, increasing the capacity of institutions, and ensuring transparency and reporting on climate finance.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2022.
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