Act together to fight climate change


As President of the COP 27 Group of 77 and China (i.e. developing countries), it was my responsibility to bring the countries of the world together to finally take realistic and meaningful steps to address the current and future implications of climate change and global warming. on the planet, with particular reference to the developing world. For me, this was not just a professional responsibility, but a deeply personal one as the foreign minister of Pakistan, the country that has been devastated by the climate change catastrophe of severe floods in 2022. The decision in Sharm el-Sheikh to establishing a fund to help developing countries address the loss and damage caused by the negative effects of climate change was an important first step, a signal of hope for humanity and the planet.

As President, I proposed discussion of a Damage and Loss Financing Facility last June in the run-up to COP 27. We faced familiar resistance to placing the issue on the Conference’s agenda. In the end, and not easily, I succeeded.

The effects of climate change and global warming have become progressively more frequent and ferocious. Those who have contributed the least to global warming suffer the most. For 30 years, the most vulnerable countries have pushed for a fund for the biggest contributors to global carbon emissions to help vulnerable countries recover from climate disasters and other consequences of climate change – sea level rise , drought, hurricanes and floods. .

Pakistan’s epic floods this year vividly and brutally confirmed the growing scale of climate disasters – with tens of thousands dead or injured; millions displaced; 13,000 km of roads, 2 million houses, 500 bridges and 5 million acres of crops destroyed, and a third of the country literally under water. My home province of Sindh was the most devastated. It was only after seeing first-hand the scale of catastrophic losses, the untold suffering of innocent people, the incalculable damage, and the realization that there was no international financial mechanism to address disasters of this magnitude that I fully understood the scale of the loss. , understood the full extent of the damage and the absolute need to take bold action to save people and the natural environment.

This monumental disaster – and the simultaneous floods in Nigeria, drought in the Horn of Africa, and hurricanes in the Pacific and Caribbean – strengthened the resolve of developing countries to ensure climate justice. Pakistan’s tenacious efforts, actively supported by the most vulnerable and other developing countries, led to the agreement at the opening of COP 27 to place this item on the agenda. As President, I realized the importance of Pakistan leading developing countries in the subsequent negotiations at the Conference to press for the establishment of the fund. We commend the Group’s solidarity in pursuing the creation of loss and damage financing arrangements and the fund itself. We appreciate the final acceptance of the proposal by developed countries, including the European Union and the US.

Developing countries look forward to working urgently in the 24-member Transitional Committee to finalize the institutional arrangements, structure, governance and terms of reference of the fund, as well as to define the elements of new financing arrangements, to identify and expand sources. funding and establishing means to ensure coordination and complementarity with existing arrangements. Among the most important tasks of the Transition Committee is to identify the scale of financing needed to deal with the current consequences of climate change. This may sound technical to the lay reader, but it literally means life and death for our children and grandchildren and generations yet unborn.

Although the agreement does not establish the legal responsibility of those who have contributed most to climate change and global warming, it confirms the central principle of climate justice – that those who suffer the most from the impacts of climate change – even though they have contributed the least to global warming; — deserve financial support from those who have contributed the most to climate change and caused the most damage to the environment.

A first test of climate justice will be the response to Pakistan’s flood disaster recovery and reconstruction plan and efforts to build resilience against future disasters. This plan will be submitted to a pledge conference to be convened jointly by Pakistan and the UN Secretary-General in January 2023. The World Bank has estimated that Pakistan has suffered more than $30 billion in damages and will require at least 16 .5 billion dollars in urgent foreign support. .

The loss and damage fund was not yet operational. Pakistan expects funding for its rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to come from industrial countries and international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks. Such support could include write-offs, exchanges and debt restructuring; new allocations of Sustainable Development Reserves (SDRs) or the re-channelling of unused SDRs of developed countries; direct support for reconstruction projects as well as private investment for projects that can be structured, for example with blended finance, to be commercially viable. We also await expressions of solidarity from Pakistan’s friends in the Islamic world and the Global South.

Although climate impacts have become inevitable due to the 1.1 degrees Celsius of global warming that has already occurred over the past 150 years, it remains vital to limit future climate change impacts as much as possible. More should have been done before. But it is our responsibility not to complain but to act.

It is therefore worrying that the adaptation plans of so many developing countries are still not funded. The Glasgow decision to “at least double” climate adaptation funding must be met as a matter of urgency. At COP 27, Pakistan proposed the immediate implementation of this decision. We expect that at COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates next year we will be able to establish a mechanism to measure and monitor financial flows for climate adaptation.

Most importantly, the 2009 pledge to mobilize $100 billion annually in climate finance has not been met. Developed countries must urgently meet this pledge and agree a new quantified collective target for more climate finance, from the $100 billion mark, by the next conference of the parties in November 2023.

Of course, the ultimate and common goal is to stop global warming and avoid the “tipping points” that climate scientists predict would lead to global climate catastrophe. However, the onus to ensure that global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius rests mainly with industrialized countries that have consumed two-thirds of the “carbon budget” over the past 150 years. The remaining one-third of this “budget” is what developing countries will need to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Mitigation commitments of the Global North therefore need to be strengthened and accelerated. Unfortunately, at COP 27 it was evident that industrialized countries had not implemented their Glasgow mitigation commitments and were reluctant to accept a bigger and faster way to reduce emissions and keep the target ‘alive’ of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Action on climate change is only one component of the cooperative efforts needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – eliminating hunger and poverty; promote health and education, restore global growth and ensure a dignified and good life for all nations and peoples.

As it ends its tenure as chair of the Group of 77 and China later this year, Pakistan will make a final push to advance the SDGs and climate goals at a Ministerial Conference of Developing Countries in New York , in mid-December. The outcomes of this meeting will hopefully set the agenda that the Global South can promote at next year’s SDG Summit and COP 28.

It may be too late for the flood victims in Pakistan, but my fervent hope is that the loss and damage facility will be in place to help other devastated countries. For what happened to Pakistan will not be exclusive to Pakistan. In 2022 it was Pakistan, next year it could be anyone. Or everyone. The future of the world depends on our joint efforts that must move forward now.

The author is the foreign minister of Pakistan.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and the China Daily website.

If you have specific experience or want to share your opinion about our stories, then send us your writings to [email protected] and [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *