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May 5, 2021

‘$120m from WB being utilised for eco-system restoration’

Islamabad

May 5, 2021

Islamabad : Despite Covid-19 posing numerous challenges, it has created an opportunity for Pakistan to respond to threats emanating from climate change, said Special Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam.

Mr Amin was delivering his keynote address at the roundtable webinar on ‘Debt swaps for green recovery: opportunities, challenges and way forward for Pakistan,’ organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Mr Amin said that during the time of pandemic, Pakistan initiated green stimulus programme which is focused on green employment and saving the nature. As the country is inclined towards clean green initiatives, this government is focusing on financing this transition through various mechanisms, he said adding that in the eco-system restoration fund $120 million from World Bank is being utilised for eco-system restoration. He said the objective is creation of estimated 100,000 green jobs based on these activities. He said that the government is also focusing on Debt for Nature Swap and Green Euro bond worth $500 million for hydropower projects.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director, SDPI, said that in current scenario, not only Pakistan but the countries across the globe are facing financial constraints which limited their window and fiscal availability for investment in green development.

Swapping our debt for nature, biodiversity and green and clean projects could be a useful source for taking care of Covid-19 recoveries and social safety, Dr Suleri opined.

M Ali Kemal, chief, SDGs Support Unit, Ministry of Planning & Special Initiatives, informed the participants that several debt swaps agreements are taking place through which 85,000 green jobs have been created under the climate change agenda. Besides, $180 million has been generated for eco-system restoration. He added that Covid-19 led to the digitisation of different sectors that can be a pathway for country to improve its index.

Sobiah Becker, climate change adviser, FCDO, explained how upcoming opportunities can be utilised for debt swaps in COP-26 as well. This pandemic has shown that the planetary health is also linked with human health, she added.

Mujtaba Khalid, head of Islamic Finance Center, BIBF, was of view that there are multiple ways for approaching the climate change affected countries as Pakistan is one of them and hence, polices are required for climate action agenda.

Khurram Lalani from Energy & Infrastructure, Resources Future, said that it was initially assumed that the pandemic will lead to less investment in green infrastructure globally, but the entire opposite happened and 96 % of the investments increased during the last year.

Omar Mukhtar, Strategic Planning adviser, SEED Pakistan, observed that for building back better, we must ensure that economic recovery exists.

Samar Ihsan, Senior Joint Secretary, EAD, Dr Sajid Amin and Dr Hina Aslam, from SDPI also spoke on the occasion.