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COP 27 Summit and Pakistan

OpinionCOP 27 Summit and Pakistan
By: Asem Mustafa Awan

At the COP 27 summit, it has been decided to establish a global fund at the request of countries affected by climate change. European countries rejected the final agreement at the world environmental conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, but this is a source of satisfaction for developing countries like Pakistan that they have to pay compensation for the damage caused to the environment by developed countries.

Environment Minister Sherry Rehman as described the establishment of the Global Fund as a major diplomatic success of Pakistan. The government showed diligence in informing the world about the environmental threats facing Pakistan after the recent floods, but how beneficial the establishment of the fund can be for Pakistan poses a big challenge.

Looking at the past performance of the governments and how the funds have been utilized is an eye-opener. The United Nations secretary-general is on record in reporting Pakistan’s losses during his visit to Pakistan this year but how much has been received is a question for the policymakers as to where the fault lies.

The UN official has reportedly said Pakistan faced losses amounting up to 30 billion dollars and 9 billion are immediately needed for the rehabilitation of the flood affectees but the amount received is but few millions.

The COP 27 conference is being seen by the world as a diplomatic effort to save the environmental peace of the planet. Emissions of greenhouse gases have increased earth’s temperatures and water bodies are drying up. Due to the increase in temperature, the sea level is rising and causing threats to life and livelihood around the world.

Climate change is a regional destabilizing factor that needs to be addressed through consensus-building efforts. Pakistan owe it to those American parliamentarians who first raised their voice in favor of Pakistan. These members of Congress held the developed countries responsible for the flood disasters in Pakistan during the disastrous floods in August.

It is good that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has included this voice in its new goals. Flood disasters were highlighted all over the world. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister held meetings with foreign leaders and officials, persuading them to help the flood victims.
For the past 20 years, Pakistan has consistently been among the 10 most vulnerable countries in the Climate Risk Index. Severe weatherevents globally results in economic losses besides increase the risk of climate-related conflicts over resources between countries.Environmental disasters such as floods, heat waves or tsunamis can increase tensions between affected countries. Any of these scenarios would be a serious threat to Pakistan and would have serious implications for any government in the immediate aftermath of a climate disaster or for future disaster mitigation efforts.

Pakistan has weak and flawed institutional and environmental management structures at the national and sub-national levels, lack of coordination, and limited financial resources for risk management and adaptation arrangements are major obstacles for effective environmental protection policy. Last but not the least the disbursement of funds and their audit makes it impossible for Pakistan to get the desired financial assistance. The Climate Risk Index lists Pakistan but so does the Corruption Index.

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