Thursday Oct 13 2022

Pakistan may seek several billion dollars in projects at COP27

A displaced girl carries a bottle of water she filled from nearby stranded flood-waters, as her family takes refuge in a camp, in Sehwan, Pakistan, September 30, 2022. —REUTERS
A displaced girl carries a bottle of water she filled from nearby stranded flood-waters, as her family takes refuge in a camp, in Sehwan, Pakistan, September 30, 2022. —REUTERS

  • Pakistan prepares to take up climate losses issue at COP27.
  • We are developing our strategies on account of loss and damage, says an official.
  • Climate expert says such negotiations are 'ardous'.

ISLAMABAD: While the damage assessment survey is underway to ascertain the losses incurred due to the cataclysmic floods, the Pakistani government is mulling to seek several billion dollars in projects on account of loss and damages at the international climate conference (COP27) being held next month.

According to a The News report published Thursday, Pakistan received a meagre cash amount from international donors for combating flood devastation and will have to make hectic lobbying in consultation with other climate-affected developing countries for forcing the developed world to compensate those who are experiencing losses on account of climate effects at the UN moot.

COP27 is scheduled to be held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will co-chair the UN moot along with Egypt's President Al-Sisi and the prime minister of Norway.

The publication reported that Islamabad has received just a few dozen million dollars in cash from international donors.

An official confided to the paper that one Western country announced $15 to $20 million but provided one plane in the shape of kinds and goods and informed Pakistan that a major chunk of the announced aid was utilised on the logistics of goods.

“We are developing our strategies on account of loss and damage as well as adaptation to overcome the negative effects of climate change. Pakistan is among those countries that are omitting carbon less than 1% but facing negative impacts manifold. The climate change effects caused heavy rainfall and the country experienced severe floods, causing losses to the tune of $30 to $40 billion alone in the current fiscal year,” The News reported, quoting an unnamed top government official.

Damage assessment survey

The government is awaiting the finalisation of the Post Disaster and Needs Assessment (PDNA) in consultation with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union, and United Nations with the mandate to prepare an exact assessment of losses and construction costs by October 15.

However, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal told the publication that the PDNA report would be launched by the donors by October 25, as it got delayed because of the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank currently being held in Washington, DC.

Another senior official said that the donors had conducted over 90% damage and need assessments, and construction cost was largely agreed which might cross the $30 billion mark after completion of reconciliation with international donors.

Pakistan and the international donors will finalise the exact damage and need assessments by Friday (tomorrow) and reconciled figures will be shared with PM Shehbaz.

‘Arduous negotiations’

Aftab Alam, an expert on climate change, when contacted on Wednesday, said that the devastating floods in Pakistan put a global spotlight on Loss and Damage (L&D) as the country suffered economic losses of nearly $30 billion.

Subsequent disasters such as infrastructure destruction, health crisis, food insecurity and livelihood losses for millions of people further intensify the gravity of catastrophe. This is high time for developed countries to put on the table adequate Loss and Damage Finances for Pakistan, he added.

However, he said that climate negotiations are arduous and the government needs to design a robust strategy to push forward its case for loss and damage.

He said it has been a demand of climate-vulnerable countries for the last 31 years. “They had put it on the table in 1991 even before the inception of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then, these countries have suffered humongous lives, livelihoods and economic losses.”

As part of loss and damage estimates, Aftab Alam recommended that Pakistan should combine flood losses with damages from heatwaves that preceded floods this year.

The heatwaves destroyed nearly 3 million tons of wheat and a large number of other crops, including mangoes.

To develop a robust strategy on Loss and Damage at COP27, Pakistan needs to involve the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), The African Group of Negotiators (AGN), and the G77 +China, he concluded.