Tuesday, November 08, 2022
SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday stressed the need for collective efforts to deal with climate change challenges.
Flanked by United Nation's Secretary-General António Guterres, the prime minister was addressing a joint news conference at the Pakistan Pavilion in Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt, where he spoke about the catastrophic, climate-induced floods in Pakistan.
Appreciating the UN's flash appeals, PM Shehbaz said there is still a long way to go in sheltering and feeding millions of people.
"Millions of people in Pakistan are going into winter without shelter or livelihood which is their fundamental right. Women and children are still looking to us to protect their needs," the premier said, adding that Pakistan is grateful to the UN agencies and development partners for supporting the country through the unprecedented crisis.
Premier deemed the climate carnage in Pakistan "huge" which has added to problems posed by floods such as stagnant water and waterborne diseases.
PM Shehbaz mentioned that the country's journey to recovery will be held back by growing public debt, increasing international energy prices, and a lack of real access to adaptation funds.
"Government has allocated urgent cash transfers worth $316 million to the vulnerable families providing $113 to each affected family. We have mobilised every available resource towards national relief effort and repurposed all budget priorities including development funds to the rescue and first-order needs of millions," the prime minister said adding that the gap, however, is much bigger and must be filled sooner rather than later.
Also speaking on the occassion, the UN Secretary-General Guterres said Pakistan deserves massive support directly from the international community for rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-hit areas.
Guterres said that the loss and damage suffered by Pakistan deserve to be considered as a reality and recognised through financial mechanisms, hoping the climate implementation conference will be able to decide it.
"Pakistan should have access to effective debt relief and the concessional funding to carry out the huge task of reconstruction and rehabilitation," the UN Secretary-General said appealing to international financial institutions and the G-20 countries to create conditions for mechanisms of debt relief for middle-income countries impacted by natural disasters.
He added that Pakistan, as a middle-income country, has not benefited from debt relief at the level that should be necessary for the country. Guterres said that he has been making proposals for debt swaps for countries like Pakistan so that investments could be made in rehabilitation and recovery and reconstruction from a natural disaster.
Expressing full solidarity, the secretary-general said the UN will stand side by side with Pakistan.
"UN is proud to be associated with Pakistan for the international donor conference in which we will try to obtain massive support from the international community for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas impacted by the tragic events," Guterres stated hoping that Pakistan will be able to benefit from these developments.