The International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan 2023 is set to begin today in Geneva. The conference is co-hosted by the Pakistan government and the United Nations. The UN Development Program is leading the effort to secure support for Pakistan’s flood hit communities and to bolster the country’s climate resilience against future climate disasters.
The conference will be a one-day affair, with speeches planned by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Pakistan is seeking up to $16.3 billion in reconstruction assistance, informed by the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) that was compiled in October 2022. The Pakistan government seeks to cover as much as half of this sum from its own resources, but is requesting international support and assistance for the remaining half.
The Pakistan government is also set to present the Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF), which is a comprehensive strategy to facilitate rehabilitation and rebuilding of the affected communities.
The 4RF document identifies housing, agriculture and livelihood restoration as priority actions to alleviate some of the worst harms of the flooding. It also suggests the creation of a recovery and reconstruction unit in the Ministry of Planning and Development to provide coordination. The framework has been produced with collaboration between the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank Group.
At COP27, Pakistan was at the forefront of efforts to establish a “loss and damage” fund to serve as a finance vehicle for covering the damage sustained by lower income countries in climate disasters.
Pakistan “essentially a victim”
The World Bank estimates that up to 9 million people could be pushed into poverty as a consequence of the floods.
United Nations Development Program administrator Achim Steiner said that “no country in the world could really recover from this without the solidarity and support of others.” Steiner suggested that “helping a climate-vulnerable country like Pakistan to rebuild in a more resilient fashion is the only way to limit the damage as global warming worsens.”
“I think the world has begun to realize that climate change has arrived,” he said. “We will have to not only rethink the way our economies are run, but also how we deal with the catastrophic and almost unprecedented scale of these impacts in the years to come.”
Pakistan “is essentially a victim of a world that is not acting fast enough on the challenge of climate change”, Steiner said.
Playing the victim card is a stop gap solution. It doesn’t address the fundamental issue of building a productive successful country since the basic issues impeding economic growth is being pushed Inder the carpet.
There is an old Rnglish fairy tale – the shepherd boy crying wolf till the villagers ignored the real attack. Pakistan polity needs to understand the world will ignore it unless clear change comes from within.
Plus religion won’t and has never delivered economic gains.