Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif addressed the world’s ever-biggest huddle of global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday. During his speech to the world leaders, the Prime Minister touched on the most urgent issues confronting the Pakistani nation, the region, and beyond.
While sensitizing the world about the devastating super floods in the country, the Prime Minister mentioned that Pakistan’s treasury and people were paying the dual cost of climate injustice, high global warming, and inaction despite emitting less than 1% of greenhouse gases.
He told the world forum that the scale and magnitude of this climate catastrophe have pushed one-third of the country underwater in a superstorm that no one has seen in living memory. According to the Prime Minister, a biblical flood poured down on the country for 40 days and 40 nights and smashed centuries of weather records. Shehbaz told the gathering that huge swathes of the country are still underwater, submerged in an ocean of human suffering.
According to him, over 33 million people including women and children are currently at high risk from health hazards such as dengue fever, malaria, and COVID-19 infections, while 650,000 women giving birth in makeshift tarpaulins. Millions of climate migrants are still looking for dry land to pitch their tents on, with heart-breaking losses to their families, their futures, and their livelihoods.
The current ongoing 77th session of the UN General Assembly coincides with events of the catastrophic superflood in Pakistan which has put drastic effects on Pakistan’s economy and social life. In fact, the 21st century had brought significant changes in human life, social living, political culture, and military doctrines, because natural events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and other climatic and geographic changes have changed the definition and prospects of national security for the nations across the globe.
The developed nations and major military powers became helpless in the face of natural disasters, while climate change has emerged as the biggest risk for human survival on the earth.
While explaining Pakistan’s future course to tackle the catastrophic havoc, the Prime Minister told the world body that Pakistan’s urgent priority was to ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of destitution and hunger.
Whereas, to enable any such policy momentum, Pakistan needs substantial assistance from the global community, particularly from developed nations who had contributed massively to global warming and whose destructive effects had ruined Pakistan in recent days.
This reality had been categorically highlighted by the Secretary-General UN during his recent visit to Pakistan who is continuously urging the western nations to assist flood-hit Pakistan which had paid the price for their industrialization.
According to the reports, the UNDP has floated a proposal for international creditors and donors to postpone debt payments and restructure Pakistan’s loan so the flood-hit nation can divert its monetary resources toward reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the country. Prime Minister Sharif also appealed to the rich nations for debt relief so policymakers can better prioritize the urgent needs of flood-hit areas.
In fact, the global huddle has provided a great opportunity for Pakistan and the UN to mobilize the international community on climate-induced disasters and ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation activities. Hopefully, the global community will feel the severity of the situation and would support Pakistan in this hour of need.