The Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman has asked at the Petersburg Dialogue on multilateral climate negotiations for a clear re-set of the global climate agenda, for equitable resourcing of change, new goals, and an accelerated pace of operationalization of pledges already made as well as new ambitions that address the needs of developing countries before the crucial Conference of Parties (COP) 27 in November in Egypt.
Taking the floor at the ministerial dialogue co-hosted by Germany and Egypt Rehman said: “We meet here today at a crucial inflection point in global negotiations on pace and scale of Climate Change.”
Sherry said Pakistan’s extreme vulnerability to accelerated climate induced events has exposed it to a multitude of risks.
“These range from unprecedented heat waves, forest fires, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF events), fast-approaching water scarcity (annual water availability level being below 1000 cubic meters) along with torrential monsoon flooding, growing desertification and droughts (for the past two years as per the UNCCD Report), and rising sea levels,” she added.
All these changes, she said, have made Pakistan the ground zero of climate catastrophe where life on earth, water and under-water has been impacted at exponential levels making the country a perfect example of all the disasters that come with climate stress.
Damage to agricultural productivity, livelihoods, human health and economic stability have led to irreversible impacts including massive internal displacements as well as GDP losses that go as high as 9.1 % (UNESCAP).
“While mitigation has been foundational to the earlier Conference of Parties (COP) agendas and Pakistan has attempted to meet its articulated ambitions. What we have not seen until today at the multilateral level is a concerted acknowledgment of Loss and Damage as a core agenda,” the minister added.
“The Global South is looking now for a robust financial mechanism to actualize its goals on the ground where a transfer of resources goes beyond pledges and promises. In fact, it is troubling for countries like us that the pledges regarding Loss and Damage compensation have also not been made at all.
This is either an egregious oversight, or worse, an index of the climate injustice that is at play in a world where countries that emit less than 1 % of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are expected to not just fulfill their commitments on their own, but also make an unfinanced energy transition, or pledge to Net Zero goals without the means for implementation of such transformational shifts.
Pakistan also stands with other developing countries on the position that climate-induced Loss and Damage (L&D) be redefined, to include recurring and amplifying extreme events”.
“Secondly given that we now agree that notwithstanding mitigation, which is not a goal to be lost sight of, adaptation finance now also needs to be front and centre, with a serious scaling up of the financial envelope for the same at the COP 27 agenda.
If this does not become a key priority of the next conference of parties meeting, the sense that these agreements are removed from the ground reality that we face will only exacerbate the faultline of inequality between the Global South and the North”.
“Thirdly, time is critical to the entire equation we have modeled our global projections on, and this pace of change, of adherence to articulated ambitions, totally misses the mark where the planet can remain habitable”.
The need to accelerate actions as well as joint finance implementation goals is compelling, she said, adding, “Until now, mitigation financing has been prioritised at the global level, at the expense of adaptation financing, which has been treated like the stepchild of the multilateral system. This needs to change now”.
Sherry Rehman added that the crisis was existential, and if not addressed equitably, history would remember this as modernity’s false promise, “if we lose this opportunity to fix the broken climate system we will have tragically failed our future and the survival of both our planet and the human race.
We must hope for a better future, but hope is not a plan. Global pledges must go further, and they must translate into planning and accessible funding pipelines for operationalising our joint goals.”
The Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman was leading the country delegation which comprised of Asif Haider Shah, Secretary MoCC, Mr Mujtaba, Senior Joint Secretary, Sayyeda Hadika Jamshed, Climate Change Policy Specialist and Dr Saima, Director MoCC.