SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of COP27.—APP

• Shehbaz said that loss and damage must be part of the central agenda of COP27; asks for clarification on climate transfer, financing for development
• Emphasizes that the burden of climate action must be shared equitably without compromising the economic growth of developing countries

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday called the recent floods that ravaged Pakistan a man-made disaster and observed that loss and damage must be part of the main agenda of the COP27 conference to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of those trapped in a debt-fueled financing crisis, yet must fund climate disasters themselves.

During the national statement at the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference World Leaders Summit, the Prime Minister suggested that the global adaptation goal should be prioritized, both in terms of funding and timing. “We are still waiting for a 50/50 balance in funding for adaptation and mitigation. The current funding gap is too high to meet the real recovery needs of those on the front lines of climate catastrophe,” Sharif said in a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

He further called for clearly defining climate finance as new, additional and sustainable resources with a transparent mechanism that responds to the needs of developing and vulnerable countries with the speed and scale required.

“There should be full clarity on what counts as climate transfer and development finance. A global climate risk index of all parties to the UNFCCC is to be developed under the auspices of the UN system. The mitigation ambition must be revived in a clear burden-sharing formula.

The Prime Minister added that unless there is a transformational shift in the flow of capabilities, finance and technology that inverts the pyramid of climate capital, the market between North and South will not work. Explaining the extent of flood damage in Pakistan, he said: “If we are to combat, rebuild and repair our infrastructure, which must be resilient and adaptive, we can only do so with additional funding, not to further loans and debts, as it would be a financial debt trap,” concluding that it was “now or never. For us, there is indeed no Planet B!”

Fair Burden Sharing

Previously, Sharif co-chaired a high-level roundtable on “Climate Change and the Sustainability of Vulnerable Communities” with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Støre.

In his welcome address, the Prime Minister said climate change required an urgent and well-calibrated response from the international community. He stressed that the burden of climate action must be shared equitably rather than equally, without compromising the economic growth and development of developing countries.

The Prime Minister also called for simplified, long-term climate finance instruments to fill capacity gaps in developing countries. He reiterated his call for an urgent need for an early warning system as part of natural disaster preparedness.

During a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of COP27, Prime Minister Sharif stressed that the platform must take bold decisions to tackle climate change. The two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and discussed potential avenues for strengthening cooperation.

On the need to capitalize on Pakistan’s young population, the prime minister called for greater cooperation between Pakistan and Germany to create productive opportunities in various fields, as reported by APP.

Chancellor Scholz showed keen interest in Pakistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation plans following the floods and assured the Prime Minister of Germany’s continued support.

Assistance to the Middle East Green Initiative

Separately, addressing the Middle East Green Initiative Summit 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan is fully committed to the goals of the Middle East Green Initiative (MGI). and offered assistance to member countries by sharing its technical expertise on forest restoration in dryland areas.

Nature-based initiatives like reforestation, he said, have helped countries build adaptive capacity, sequester greenhouse gas emissions, and avoid and minimize damage. due to climate change at national and regional levels.

Mr. Sharif said Pakistan fully endorses the guiding principles of a shared vision for a sustainable future, effective collaboration, regional and international linkages, innovation-driven actions and decision-making. based on science.

Later, in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the Saudi leader’s upcoming visit to Pakistan would promote bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, the prime minister’s office said in a statement. following the meeting.

Youth debate

Aisha Khan, leader of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change, attending the summit as an observer, told Dawn over the phone that a panel discussion on the sidelines featured four young activists and two MPs, largely on the how young people see the challenges in Pakistan, what role it could play and what space and capacity it is given to be part of the conversation.

“There is a broader observation here that while heads of state are making statements, negotiations have a slow pace. Starting tomorrow, everyone hopes that there will be progress on loss and damage and the Santiago network, and beyond the amount of technical assistance, an agenda can be built that can become the decision text at the next COP on how to establish a separate facility. The optics seem good that there could be broad acceptance and recognition of the need to act with a bit more urgency to address these issues,” she explained.

Posted in Dawn, November 9, 2022