Monday, November 07, 2022
SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday told the international community about Pakistan's plight following the cataclysmic floods and talked about the worsening of the situation as winter is approaching.
In his joint press conference alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres, PM Shehbaz said that hundreds of thousands of people would need warm clothes as they brace for cold winters.
Rains have already started in Balochistan and Sindh — the two most affected provinces of the country — and scores of families are already living in tents or without a roof over their heads as thousands of homes were destroyed in the flood-hit areas.
"Water is stagnant in the areas where the floods hit, and we have sustained damages worth $30 billion," the prime minister said.
Before the presser, the two leaders met as PM Shehbaz spent most of his time meeting with world leaders and dignitaries on the sidelines of the summit.
During his meeting with the UN secretary-general, PM Shehbaz reiterated that the unprecedented flood disaster in Pakistan was a clear manifestation of the challenge posed by climate change and endorsed the secretary-general’s call for climate justice and climate solidarity.
He further highlighted that according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), the total estimated damage caused by the floods was over $32 billion, which is around 10% of Pakistan’s GDP. The country would require substantial international support to build back greener, based on the model of sustainable development, to deal with the enormous task of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Referring to the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution last month, the prime minister said that Pakistan was looking forward to convening an international ‘pledging conference’ bringing together all development partners.
The PM also expressed appreciation for the creation of a UN inter-agency team, led by the deputy secretary-general, to help Pakistan prepare a comprehensive rehabilitation and reconstruction plan, which will be presented at the conference.
The bilateral meeting between the prime minister and the secretary-general was followed by a joint press stake-out at the “Pakistan Pavilion”.
In his meeting with the European Union Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen, PM Shehbaz appreciated the spirit of EU nations for their support extended to the flood-hit population of Pakistan.
The premier stressed the significance of achieving shared goals that the EU and Pakistan have worked on together, particularly the cooperation extended by EU nations toward the removal of Pakistan's name from the Financial Action Task Force's grey list.
"Unity is essential to combat the effects of climate change," he said, adding that the impact of climate change faced by developing countries at present will eventually spread across the world.
The premier also spoke about increasing bilateral trade between Pakistan and the EU.
PM Shehbaz, during his ongoing visit, also met with the Secretary General of the Arab League on the sidelines of COP27's High-Level Segments. The two leaders discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interest, agreeing on strong cooperation to prevent the devastating impacts of climate change.
The prime minister has also separately met with the Presidents of Iraq, Tajikistan and Indonesia Abdul Latif Rashid, Emomali Rahmon, and Joko Widodo, respectively. He also conducted a meeting with Lebanese PM Najib Makati.
PM Shehbaz thanked the international community for helping Pakistan's flood victims and discussed bilateral, regional and global issues with them.
In his meeting with the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the premier thanked him for the assistance sent for aid and assistance of flood victims.
"The international community must come together to create a common charter for the survival of the planet," PM Shehbaz iterated during his engagements in Egypt.