PM Shehbaz Sharif calls for implementation of 'loss and damage' fund
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday urged the world community to stand up and take practical measures to deal with the issue of climate change.
The premier was addressing a ceremony organised in Islamabad to pay tributes to all the stakeholders, including international partners, for successful climate diplomacy at Sharm-al-Sheikh climate summit COP27, which led to the establishment of the loss and damage fund.
The UN's COP27 climate summit last month approved the creation of the special fund to cover the losses suffered by vulnerable nations hit by the impact of global warming — and Pakistan played a crucial role in it.
Delegates applauded after the "loss and damage" fund was approved by consensus following two weeks of contentious negotiations over demands by developing nations for rich polluters to compensate them for the destruction from weather extremes.
The prime minister, addressing the event “COP27 and Beyond: Pakistan’s Resilience Challenges” told the world that what had happened in Pakistan would not be restricted to the country.
"[The recent floods] necessitated seriousness towards the challenge of climate change," the prime minister told the event held to acknowledge the ministers, government officers, and experts whose efforts led to the agreement on the loss and damage fund.
“Our friends in the global north, they should and they have realised the importance of this challenge. That is why [they] have made a remarkable agreement at Sharm El-Sheikh. 'loss and damage' is now a reality."
"But then, it’s not about these agreements and understandings. It’s about practical implementation."
He said the unprecedented floods in Pakistan had affected 33 million, left 800 dead, and inflicted around $30 billion loss to the country’s agriculture, industry, infrastructure, and livestock.
The prime minister said that “loss and damage was like a sleeping beauty for the decade” and for the first time, it was articulated by the team led by the ministers for foreign affairs and climate change.
The premier regretted that despite contributing 1% to climate change, Pakistan was one of the most vulnerable countries.
Addressing the ceremony, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said the agreement on the establishment of the fund was a “landmark event”.
She said the fund would support developing countries like Pakistan to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure and achieve resilience.
“This is not about global south alone but rather all climate justice seekers both in north and south,” she remarked.
She apprised the gathering of the concerted efforts made by the prime minister, foreign minister, and diplomats at COP27 and earlier, as the urgency was felt more after the floods.
The minister said the fund was considered a major outcome of the COP27 and appreciated the flexibility shown by the developed countries, which led to the agreement bringing a win-win situation for all.
Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, who had been instrumental in the dialogue process at COP27, said resilience was key to a sustainable future and trajectory to growth.
She said the concerted public advocacy led to the agreement, adding that it was all about climate justice, not charity as the developing countries lacked resources to deal with the climate change-induced disasters.
The minister said the situation would not stabilise unless the climate stress was addressed.
She added that resilience was also a race against time, citing the seriousness of the situation caused by climate change in form of artificial lakes and flood-caused destruction.