Climate change: Pakistan seeks funding after devastating floods in 2022

Still reeling from last year’s devastating floods, Pakistan is seeking billions of dollars in international aid on Monday to help it recover from and better cope with the effects of climate change.

With 216 million people, the world’s fifth most populous country is responsible for less than one percent of greenhouse gas emissions. But it is one of the most vulnerable to an increase in the number of extreme weather events.

Pakistan and the United Nations are hosting an international conference in Geneva on Monday where they will call on countries, organizations and businesses to increase support, including financial support, for the country’s long-term reconstruction and climate resilience plan.

The conference will be opened with the speeches of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Other heads of state and government, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will also speak there via video conference.

Pakistan floods: ongoing damage (AFP – Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA)

A total of $16.3 billion (€15.3 billion) is needed, according to Pakistan’s “Sustainable Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan,” which will be officially presented at the conference on Monday.

The Pakistani government believes it can finance half of it through its own budget and public-private partnerships, but must pay the rest to the international community.

About 450 participants from about 40 countries, including representatives of the World Bank and development banks, are expected to participate.

– “The Decisive Moment” –

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), who described the floods as a “cataclysmic event,” lamented, “The waters may have receded, but their impact is still there.” “We need a massive rebuilding and rehabilitation effort.”

Large swaths of the country were under water for months, and waters that once covered a third of the country have yet to recede from some southern areas. The level of destruction is enormous.

More than 1700 people lost their lives, 33 million people were affected.

A woman and her daughter who were displaced by floods are treated at a hospital in Johi, Sindh, Pakistan on September 27, 2022 (AFP/File - Rizwan TABASSUM)
A woman and her daughter who were displaced by floods are treated at a hospital in Johi, Sindh, Pakistan on September 27, 2022 (AFP/File – Rizwan TABASSUM)

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), up to four million children still live near polluted and stagnant floodwaters.

Millions of people remain displaced far from their homes, and those who are able to return home often find damaged or destroyed houses and mud-covered fields that cannot be planted.

Food prices have soared and the number of Pakistanis who are food insecure has doubled to 14.6 million, according to the UN.

The World Bank estimates that up to nine million more people could fall into poverty as a result of the disaster.

“This conference is, in many ways, the beginning of a process that will take several years,” Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said last week, calling it “a crucial moment for the international community to stand with the people of Pakistan.” .

Islamabad and the UN explain that Monday’s event has a broader purpose than a traditional donors’ conference, as it seeks to build a long-term international partnership focused on reconstruction but also on improving climate resilience.

Pakistan is “fundamentally a victim of a world that is not acting fast enough on the challenge of climate change,” according to Mr. Steiner, who warned that the country would go on for a long time without international aid. an extraordinary level of misery and suffering”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *