At COP27, Pakistan calls for joint responsibility as it seeks ‘climate justice’

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SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday called on the international community to take joint responsibility for climate change as Pakistan sought “climate justice” at an international climate summit.

“In Pakistan, more than 30 million people have been severely affected; floods caused widespread destruction due to unusual rains; 8-thousand-km-long roads, 3-thousand-km-long railway tracks were affected,” the prime minister said at the COP27 UN climate summit.

World leaders, policymakers and delegates from nearly 200 countries are in Egypt at the summit, which delegates had kicked off with a deal to discuss compensating poor nations for mounting damage linked to global warming.

The prime minister highlighted that Pakistan has suffered losses worth $30 billion despite its carbon emissions being one of the lowest in the world.

“The [climate change] affected countries have to deal with this challenge with their own resources. Environmental justice requires that all countries take joint responsibility,” he said.

PM Shehbaz said the world has time and again discussed climate change, but no substantial results have come out of those discussions.

He noted that in Pakistan, wheat, edible oil, and other goods have to be imported now after the floods destroyed agricultural crops. “On the one hand there’s such a huge disaster and lack of resources and on the other hand import costs are major challenges.”

The prime minister said Pakistan requires billions of dollars for the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people and called upon the international community to aid the country.

‘Loss, damage’

Earlier, he attended a high-level roundtable at COP27 on the “Scaling up Action and Support on Losses and Damages — the Global Shield Against Climate Risks”.

During the roundtable, the prime minister underscored that vulnerable developing countries such as Pakistan were already witnessing unprecedented devastating impacts of climate change, even though they have contributed very little to it.

He underlined that the issue of “loss and damage” was one of the key priorities for Pakistan and welcomed its inclusion as an agenda item of COP27.

The prime minister briefed the participants on the situation in the flood-hit areas of Pakistan and the actions being taken by the Government for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-impacted areas.

The event was jointly hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo on the significant topic of ‘Loss and Damage’ associated with Climate Change.

The meeting was attended by a number of heads of state and government.

He highlighted that it was for the first time that the COP had agreed to formally discuss funding arrangements for loss and damage, achieved through a persistent push by the developing countries under Pakistan’s chairmanship of Group of 77 and China.