Friday February 23, 2024

Pakistan to table economic losses at donors moot: Ahsan

By Our Correspondent
December 06, 2022
Speakers at a conference titled Geopolitical Conflicts: Implications for Pakistan’s Geo-economic on Monday. — Twitter/ @SDPIPakistan
Speakers at a conference titled Geopolitical Conflicts: Implications for Pakistan’s Geo-economic on Monday. — Twitter/ @SDPIPakistan

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal has said that the Donors Conference is expected to meet in Geneva on January 10, 2023, whereby Pakistan would table its post-disaster economic and infrastructure losses as well as its $46 billion reconstruction requirement with the hope that the international community would come forward to give us climate justice.

“Our infrastructure and economic losses were estimated at $30 billion, while reconstruction costs would be required to the tune of $16 billion, so the accumulated figures touched $46 billion. The donors’ conference is expected to be held in Geneva on January 10, 2023, to seek multi-billion dollar assistance from the international community,” Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said while talking to journalists after addressing the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) conference here on Monday.

Earlier, the minister called upon the regional countries to make joint efforts in achieving common goals of poverty alleviation, literacy, sustainable socio-economic development, and mitigation of climate disaster impacts.

He spoke at the inaugural plenary of the 25th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC), organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and jointly held alongside UNESCAP’s 6th South and Southwest Asia High-level Political Forum and Policy Dialogue on SDGs.

Despite this, he stated that the member countries of the South and West Asia region are working together to achieve the agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include climate change, conflicts, food security, poverty, and inequality as major challenges to human development gains. The minister urged the IFIs to establish a special fund to provide interest-free loans with a grace period of up to 30 years for developing countries to cope with climate disasters.

Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director of SDPI, said the objective of the forum is to foster an in-depth and shared understanding among the member states and stakeholders on strategies and opportunities at the state and sub-regional levels to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 agenda. Mikiko Tanaka, Director, and Head of UNESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, Thailand, said that regional countries are confronted with difficult times and therefore need to strengthen partnerships for regional development. She affirmed that UNESCAP will continue to support member countries in achieving the SDGs or the 2030 agenda.

Knut Ostby, the UNDP Country Director, Fathimath Niuma, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure, Maldives, Shehan Semasinghe, the Minister of State for Finance in Sri Lanka, Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary-General of SAARC, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the UN Under-Secretary-General, and UNCESCAP Executive Secretary, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Secretary for the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, also spoke.

At a morning plenary on “Geopolitical Conflicts: Implications for Pakistan’s Geoeconomic,” Dr. Moeed W. Yusuf, the former National Security Adviser, said that geographically Pakistan cannot escape from the excellent power contestation, as unipolarity is morphing into a new world order.

He said Pakistan could either become a proxy ground for this conflict or emerge with a model where a destabilised Pakistan is unfavourable for the world and we must move away from assistance to development partners. He said that Pakistan needs a strategy to send skilled labour to aging countries to increase remittances. He further suggested that Pakistan also needs to make bold policy choices, decentralise power to local governments, and allow lateral entry of experts to revamp the government structure.

Haroon Sharif, the former chairman of the Board of Investment, shed light on four major challenges, saying that globalisation is shifting towards regionalism and that proximity advantage can cut the cost of trade—an opportunity Pakistan should not miss. Global tensions and conflicts are causing exogenous macroeconomic shocks, and the share of nations in international organisations has become political leverage, which is unfavourable for Pakistan’s bargaining positions.

Gen (retd.) Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, has said that the geostrategic contest of power at the global level and regionally between RSS-driven and BJP-led Bharat and its associated Akhund Bharat ideology has serious geostrategic ramifications for Pakistan. He claims that it is not just geo-economics at work, but also geo-strategy and geopolitics.

Speaking at the evening plenary titled: Strengthening climate diplomacy in South Asia: Together for implementation, Ambassador Dr. Riina Kionka, Head of EU Delegation, in her keynote address said Pakistan, after a tremendous unified effort, managed to get the longstanding loss and damage issue on the agenda of the global environmental meeting of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP-27) and also managed to get the fund agreed by the parties during the G-77 plus China forum meeting.

“Pakistan considers it a shared win, where Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar remarked that it is not alone the global south’s victory, but rather the global north also came closer to getting the objective met.”

Ms. Kionka stated that despite its nine percent share of global GHG emissions, the EU is already leading the global contribution to climate finance. However, the COP did not achieve its goal of requiring global emitters to phase out the use of fossil fuels or coal, which is a glass half full.

“We believe we should continue to work on green deals and regional cooperation in tackling climate change.” She added that 2022 is a dire reminder of the unprecedented challenges of climate change. In contrast, Pakistan has already faced devastating impacts of climate change in the face of floods, droughts, and forest fires. India also faced floods and heatwaves, followed by Bangladesh, which also faced floods and droughts.