Bilawal proposes separate `loss & damage’ financing window to tackle climate-induced disasters in developing countries

NEW YORK, Sept 20 (APP): Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has proposed the creation of a separate loss and damage financing window by the international financial institutions, including development of a standing debt restructuring modality by the IMF for generating an immediate response to climate-induced natural disasters in the developing countries.

He highlighted the proposal put forward by Pakistan, as Chair of the G77 and China, to include discussions of Loss and Damage finance as an Agenda item at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), and expressed hope that a decision would be reached for a financial mechanism to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage”.

The Foreign Minister was chairing a High-Level Event on ‘Loss & Damage: New and Additional Financing’ organized by Pakistan here on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly session on 19 September 2022, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said.

The event was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry (COP-27 Presidency), all major blocs in the climate change negotiations, as well as representative of the Green Climate Fund.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar also attended the meeting.

The Foreign Minister, in his opening remarks, highlighted that the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan were a clear manifestation of the unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.

He mentioned that the floods impacted one in seven Pakistanis (33 million). Initial estimates suggested that the total damage caused by this climate-induced disaster could be upward of $30 billion, equivalent to 10% of Pakistan’s GDP.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that over the years, the developing countries have disproportionately suffered from the vagaries of climate change while contributing a miniscule amount to the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

For example, while contributing only 0.8% to GHG emissions, Pakistan was consistently among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world vis-à-vis the impact of climate change, he remarked.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry agreed that Loss and Damage was a reality that would need to be addressed at CoP27 in a holistic manner.

He also referred to the UN Secretary-General’s call on “Early Warning Systems”, which could play an effective role in averting and minimizing the loss and damage from climate disasters.
 
The representative from the Green Climate Fund, Dr. German Velasquez, provided an overview of the existing financial windows particularly in the context of readiness support for national adaptation plans.
 
The Ministers & Climate Change Ambassadors from participating Member States also provided their perspectives on the Way Forward for addressing the issue of Loss & Damage.

The participants appreciated Pakistan’s role as Chair of G77 and China and broadly supported the Group’s request for discussion on Loss and Damage finance as a separate agenda item.
 
Expressing Pakistan’s full support for Egypt’s Presidency, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stressed the need for concrete outcomes on Loss & Damage from COP27.