Global fund deal ‘pivotal step’ for climate justice, says Pakistan PM Shahbaz - GulfToday

Global fund deal ‘pivotal step’ for climate justice, says Pakistan PM Shahbaz


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Tariq Butt / Agencies

A breakthrough funding deal at the COP27 conference to help poor countries ravaged by climate change was welcomed on Sunday by Pakistan, a nation devastated this year by record-breaking monsoon rains.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Twitter welcomed the development, calling it the “first pivotal step towards the goal of climate justice.”

“The establishment of loss & damage fund at the UN climate summit is the first pivotal step towards the goal of climate justice,” Shahbaz tweeted.

Shahbaz acknowledged the work done on the summit deal by his cabinet Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, and her team. He said it’s now up to a transitional committee to build on the historic development.

The UN COP27 summit wrapped up on Sunday in Egypt with a deal for a fund to help vulnerable countries cope “loss and damage” from devastating climate impacts.

The UN’s COP27 climate summit has approved the creation of a special fund to cover the losses suffered by vulnerable nations hit by the impact of global warming. Delegates applauded after the “loss and damage” fund was approved by consensus following two weeks of contentious negotiations over demands by developing nations for rich polluters to compensate them for the destruction from weather extremes.

Flooding likely worsened by global warming submerged a third of Pakistan’s territory, left 33 million people scrambling to survive, and an estimated $40 billion in losses to the economy.

Pakistani officials, who had framed the country as a victim of climate change and sought compensation from bigger polluting nations, called the funding deal “a step in reaffirming the core principles of climate justice.”

The compensation agreement hammered out early on Sunday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh establishes funding for “loss and damage” suffered by poor countries as a result of global warming.

In a series of tweets, Sherry Rehman said it’s been a long 30-year journey from demand to the formation of the loss and damage Fund for 134 countries.

“We welcome today’s announcement and joint text hammered out through many nights. It’s an important first step in reaffirming the core principles of climate justice,” the minister said.

“We look forward to (the fund) being operationalised, to actually become a robust body that is able to answer with agility to the needs of the vulnerable, the fragile and those on the front line of climate disasters,” she said.

Pakistan suffered huge losses in the floods that affected a third of its 33 million population, who faced unprecedented suffering in terms of human and property losses. More than 1,700 people were killed and nearly 13,000 others injured. Over 13,000 kilometres of roadway, 439 bridges and 2.28 million houses were damaged or destroyed.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan came out a winner as a result of the compensation deal.

“Win for climate justice, win for developing world in honor of 33 million victims of Pakistan floods and millions around the world who suffer from a climate catastrophe they did not create and do not have resources to address,” Bilawal said.

Shahbaz Sharif noted that the establishment of the loss and damage fund at the UN climate summit was the first pivotal step towards the goal of climate justice. “It is up to the transitional committee to build on the historic development,” he said.

The “loss and damage” inflicted by climate-induced disasters was not even officially up for discussion when UN talks in Egypt began.

But a concerted effort among developing countries to make it the defining issue of the conference melted the resistance of wealthy polluters long fearful of open-ended liability and gathered unstoppable momentum as the talks progressed.

“At the beginning of these talks loss and damage was not even on the agenda and now we are making history, said Mohamed Adow, executive director of Power Shift Africa. It just shows that this UN process can achieve results and that the world can recognise the plight of the vulnerable must not be treated as a political football.”

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