ISLAMABAD, Jan 30 (APP): Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Inger Andersen, on Monday, in her maiden visit to Pakistan reiterated the UNEP’s support to the Living Indus Initiative and thanked Federal Minister of Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman for inviting the Programme to be a part of it.
Minister Sherry Rehman welcomed Inger Andersen to Pakistan on her first visit to Islamabad, a news release said.
At a high-level meeting held at the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) during her official visit, Minister Rehman appreciated Andersen’s leadership under second-term Executive Director of UNEP to bring her commitment to multilateralism and actually working for the inclusion of vulnerable countries and communities to the heart of the climate crisis which was evident in Pakistan.
The UN Under-Secretary General was accompanied by the UNEP team as well as by the UN Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis. Andersen also mentioned that UNEP was in the process of establishing a foothold in Pakistan in the near future at Minister Rehman’s request.
“UNEP will be working closely with the ministry to assist in Pakistan’s adaptation and resilience-building projects,” she added.
Minister Rehman opened by thanking the United Nations for their ongoing support on the ground in the aftermath of the catastrophic floods in 2022.
“UNEP has a special place in our hearts and minds here at the ministry because of our strong links with the environment and our basic groundwork. We hope to take that further under the Living Indus Initiative which you have been partners in developing with us,” she said.
The minister emphasized that the Living Indus Initiative could change the game for adaptation which Pakistan is sorely in need of.
“The Indus River is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and it desperately needs a lifeline, and this initiative is the axis of adaptation for Pakistan. We are in a recovery trap and the word ‘polycrisis’ applies clearly to Pakistan. We will have to think outside of our planning and development boxes. We get locked into that and lose the windows of opportunity that are with us right now,” said the Minister.
She highlighted that unlocking of accelerated financing for targeted projects and initiatives can be designed with speed and accelerated ease for responding to urgent needs on the ground.
The MoCC also briefed the UNEP delegation on Pakistan’s Natural Capital Account and its upcoming National Adaptation Plan.
The UNEP delegation indicated that they look forward to continued work with MoCC to increase adaptation in Pakistan.
The Climate Change Ministry has organised a comprehensive program across Ministries in concert with the UNEP team.
Andersen is scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas in Sindh and mangrove areas around Karachi later this week. She will be calling on Minister Sherry Rehman in Karachi on Friday as well as the CM of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah.