ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday, stressing the spirit of ‘climate justice’, said Pakistan merited support from the world, especially the industrialized countries, to respond to the current climate calamity.
The prime minister, in a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Pakistan needed support from the international community to help it recover and rebuild with enhanced resilience. Secretary-General Guterres is on a two-day solidarity visit to Pakistan in the wake of unprecedented rains and floods in the country.
The prime minister highlighted that Pakistan was facing floods of epic proportions, which were a dreadful manifestation of climate-induced natural disaster. He outlined the extensive rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the government, in collaboration with the UN agencies, international community and humanitarian organizations, to reach out to the deeply affected over 33 million people across the country.
He highlighted that Secretary-General Guterres’s visit to Pakistan demonstrated strong solidarity with the people of Pakistan at the critical time. The prime minister appreciated the secretary-general’s strong support and advocacy for mobilizing international assistance, including for the $ 160 million UN Flash Appeal to fund Pakistan’s Flood Response Plan.
He also lauded the secretary-general’s forceful messaging highlighting the linkage of the floods with the impacts of climate change. The prime minister added that the secretary-general’s leadership and timely intervention had helped put the global spotlight on the serious challenges posed by the catastrophic floods.
He recalled that with less than one percent of global carbon emissions, Pakistan was among those least responsible for global warming. However, he said, it was among the top ten countries most severely impacted by climate change. The two leaders also discussed Pakistan’s plans for the phase of rehabilitation of the affected population and reconstruction of areas devastated by the floods.
The prime minister emphasized Pakistan’s resolve to build resilience against future climate shocks, including through various projects on adaptation and mitigation with adequate support from the UN system and other international partners.
Recalling his long association with Pakistan, the secretary-general conveyed his enormous appreciation for the people of Pakistan. He said he was witness to the resilience of the Pakistani people as well as their generosity in helping their compatriots and in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for decades. He added that he was also deeply moved by devastation and the humanitarian consequences of the massive floods.
He assured full support and commitment to Pakistan, including for mobilizing international assistance. The secretary-general emphasized that it was not merely about solidarity but a question of justice. Apart from the massive support required for rehabilitation and reconstruction, the whole issue of climate change needed to be addressed with the kind of urgency, seriousness and responsibilities that it deserved, he added. The prime minister and the secretary-general subsequently attended a briefing at the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC). The secretary-general will also be travelling to areas most impacted by the floods as part of his visit.