Advocacy for Climate Justice central to Pakistan’s COP27 position: Sherry Rehman

ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP):Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman said that Pakistan was gearing up to make the case for climate justice at the upcoming multilateral climate forum COP27 in Egypt.

The minister said, “We are in the 20th nightmarish week of longest relief phase in Pakistan’s history. As of now, 1,731 people have lost their lives and more than 12,000 are injured. The government has dispersed Rs 66.6 billion to more than 2.6 million people from the affected populations via our Benazir Income Support Program (BISP).

The flood has redefined all priorities for us, and it has made climate induced catastrophes a reality. Pakistan has raised its case at every international forum, highlighting that what’s happening in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan and we plan to do the same at COP27.”

Speaking at a briefing at the Ministry of Climate Change about the COP27 here Thursday, she said, “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will address the head of states during the World Leaders Summit and he will also co-chair a high-level roundtable with the Prime Minister of Norway on the theme of “Climate Change and the sustainability of vulnerable communities”.

The Prime Minister will also have bilateral engagements with other head of states and ministers, she said and added that Pakistan’s Pavilion would host 25 side events and panel discussions including screening of videos showcasing Pakistan’s vulnerability to Climate Change and the recent catastrophic floods.

She continued that the COP was a discussion forum where long-term deals and discussions related to climate change happen, mainly negotiations on countries NDCs. Pakistan’s delegation will be attending the key committees at COP27 such as Committee on the Bureau of the COP, CMP and CMA, Committee on the Clean Development Mechanism, Standing Committee on Finance, Committee on Adaptation Fund, Consultative Group of Experts, Technology Executive Committee, Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and the Committee to Facilitate implementation of the Paris Agreement. The delegation will highlight and advocate the unique vulnerability of low emitting nations at these committees, she expressed.

Talking about the search for climate justice, the minister said, “This current climate system has failed the Global South since 2009. Even during the last COP in Glasgow, there was a deep regret over the unmet goal of US$100bn per year.

The developed countries of the Global North, who have the biggest share in carbon emissions, are ignoring the ongoing problem of Climate Finance and Loss and Damage, and we hope there is no sidelining of these pressing matters at COP27. We have repeatedly made a case for enhancing climate funding. The US$100bn bill has never been paid, nor has the Adaptation Fund been capitalized.”

She continued, “With the support of other developing countries, Pakistan will seek to put the creation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility on the agenda. Pakistan has fought for Loss and Damage to be added to the provisional agenda of COP27.

This has happened for the first time in COP’s history, and credit is to Pakistan’s extensive diplomacy. Begging bowl diplomacy must stop and in turn must transform into a funding window, where affected countries can access funds for humanitarian response, rehabilitation, and recovery. Humanitarian appeals happen, but they are underfunded. Relief and assistance for climate disasters should not hinge on other country’s mercy and pity.

She said, “There should be a global shield of funds that protects countries affected by climate induced events. There is a need for transparency in the distribution of funding, and a dedicated Response, Rehabilitation, Recovery Window to ensure speedy availability to meet the pressing humanitarian needs.

Sadly, Loss and Damage has always been the stepchild of the larger discourse. During the last COP, the talks broke down when the Global South brought up the conversation on Loss and Damage. This tells us that the bargain between the Global North and Global South has not been working, and it needs to be fixed for the Global South to survive the oncoming train of climate change.”

“The COP 27 is a multilateral forum and not a donor forum, but it will be the place for broad strategic climate agreements. We will advocate for creation of a shield that protects countries at the forefront of climate induced events. Climate change is a reality in Pakistan and nature’s fury cannot be stopped, hence adaptation planning is necessary.

We have drafted the National Adaptation Plan and it has been sent to the provinces for consultation. The funding for adaptation needs to increase internationally, and it needs to be on par with mitigation funding. For years, this has been on the talks and nothing concrete has taken place. Now is the time to move towards implementation, and enough with broken promises. COP27 must shake the leaders of the Global North that talks must be focused on protecting vulnerable lives, she concluded.”