World leaders attending the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, heard calls on Monday for massive support for Pakistan’s efforts to recover from the “climate carnage” of severe floods that hit the country in August.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Pakistan in September and described the disaster he witnessed as “climate carnage”.
Speaking on Monday in Sharm El-Sheikh, Guterres said the devastation in Pakistan was the biggest evidence yet that developing nations were suffering “loss and damage” from climate change now.
“There is loss and there is damage. And this COP needs to recognize it and needs to define a clear roadmap to deal with it,” Guterres said at a news conference.
“There is loss and there is damage. And this COP needs to recognize it and needs to define a clear roadmap to deal with it.”U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking at COP27 on Monday
He urged the summit participants to create “an institutional framework and financing in order to address the problems of loss and damage,” and said he hoped Pakistan would be able to benefit from those developments.
Guterres described his recent visit to Pakistan as an “unforgettable moment.”
“To see an area flooded that is three times the size of my country, Portugal. To see the loss of life, the loss of crops, the loss of livelihoods. To see the dramatic impact in the lives of people, all over the country, and at the same time to see the courage, the resilience, and the generosity of the Pakistani people,” he recalled on Monday.
He said the international community now had a duty to show similar generosity toward Pakistan and to “massively support” its rehabilitation and reconstructions efforts.
Tens of millions of people were affected by the floods and 1,700 people died, relief agencies have reported. More than six million people are still in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including 130,000 pregnant women.
The U.N. secretary-general said funding Pakistan’s reconstruction should be in the form of investments, rather than loans because the country already has debts.
He called on international financial institutions and the “Group of 20”, which will meet soon in Bali, Indonesia, to provide debt relief for countries like Pakistan when they are hit by natural disasters.
“Pakistan deserves deserves loss and damage to be considered as a reality and for that reality to be recognized through financial mechanisms that I hope this conference will be able to decide.”U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
As a middle-income country, Pakistan is not eligible for concessional finance, Guterres said, adding that he regards this as a problem that the international community should fix.
“There is no reason why middle-income countries that are dramatically impacted by climate change shouldn’t have access to concessional funding,” he said. He added that he hoped the G20 would promote the necessary reforms.
Call for ‘Massive Support’
“Pakistan deserves massive support directly from the international community,” Guterres said. “Pakistan deserves loss and damage to be considered as a reality and for that reality to be recognized through financial mechanisms that I hope this conference will be able to decide.”
Speaking at the same media event on Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said that the world must intensify action to reduce carbon emissions to protect countries from the severe damage caused by climate change.
“The example is clear in Pakistan, a victim of climate change,” he told an Al-Fanar Media correspondent at the COP27 summit. “The economic losses resulting from the recent flood crisis were estimated at more than $30 billion.”
Pakistan needs international support, he said. and “We will not be able to recover from this disaster alone.”
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Read more about COP27 and climate change in Climate and Environment, an archive of Al-Fanar Media’s reporting on these topics.