Tuesday June 06, 2023

De-carbonisation of economy in Pakistan’s interest, says World Bank

By Our Correspondent
March 14, 2023

Pakistan is highly vulnerable to worsening climate change and building resilience is the key to avoiding poverty increase as a result of climate change. In case of not taking preventive measures, there is a significant probability of more frequent and intense events such as droughts, floods and rise in the sea level.

This was disclosed by a World Bank (WB) delegation led by its South Asian regional director for sustainable development (SD), John A Roome, that called on Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the CM House on Monday.

Through a presentation, the World Bank officer told the CM that Pakistan’s recent poverty reduction was fragile due to macro-fiscal vulnerabilities, and low and volatile growth. He said that reduction in extreme poverty due to off-farm economic activities and foreign remittances, and growth in per capita GDP had been volatile and low in the country.

The structural issues, including circular debt, large and unproductive subsidy regimes, and inadequate tax collection added to fiscal stress and constrained investment in human capital, basic infrastructure and services, the WB delegation said.

According to the WB report, Pakistan has been a low green house gases (GHG) emitter, but there are still opportunities in Pakistan’s own interests to de-carbonise its economy. Pakistan contributed to less than one per cent of total GHG emissions between 1990-2018.

The WB delegation stated that the GHG emissions per capita in Pakistan were low — about one third of the global average. However, the GHG emissions were growing fast due to population increases and economic growth, therefore focus may be made to significant de-carbonisation options in the industries, power and transport sector.

It was said in the meeting that climate change was already having devastating effects on the country and the unprecedented floods in 2022 had brought one-third of the country under water, causing 1,700 casualties and affecting around 33 million people. Pakistan needed $16 billion to recover from the flood effects. According to the WB report, the 2022 floods would likely hamper progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Pakistan by 2030. Some 8.4 to 9.1 million people would be pushed into poverty, and 6 to 7 million people would fall further behind. Additional 7.6 million people would face food security, and 17 million women and children were at greater risk of preventable diseases. A total of 4.3 million people would face job losses or disruption and 640,000 women and girls were at risk of gender-based violence and child marriage.

The WB delegation said the post-flood situation presented a significant opportunity for building long-term and systematic resilience. The WB report said that an inclusive and resilient recovery would lead to sustainable development for the people and country.

The pillars of the recovery, according to the report, included the restoration of jobs and livelihoods, recovery and reconstruction of critical assets, services and infrastructure, and strengthening government and stakeholders’ capacity for reconstruction.

The CM directed the planning and development department to study the WB report, send its recommendations and frame its own development plan in the light of the WB report so that the province could be steered out of poverty through sustainable development.