Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has urged the international community to provide urgent and adequate assistance to countries suffering from the impact of climate change.
Addressing G77 and China annual meeting of Foreign Ministers in New York on Friday, he said Pakistan has suffered massively by floods global warming in the wake of devastating floods.
He said Pakistan emits less than one percent of global greenhouse emissions, yet it is now the epicenter of the impacts of climate change. He said one-third of Pakistan is under water. A thousand people were killed and thousands more injured. He said thirty-three million people have been affected and six million are absolutely destitute. He said around 1.7 million homes, over twelve thousand kilometers of roads, 350 bridges and five million acres of crops, have been destroyed.
The Foreign Minister said that the total damage is estimated at over 30 billion dollars.
The Foreign Minister called for mobilizing urgent humanitarian, economic and financial support to the more than 50 developing countries which are in economic distress. He, however, welcomed the proposal of UN Secretary-General for a "SDG stimulus" of 500 billion dollars to enable those countries which are in extreme economic distress to revive their economies and development objectives.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emphasised on providing emergency food supplies through the World Food Programme to the 250 million people in food distress. He said prices should be moderated by enlarging food production and supplies and support small farmers access to seeds, fertilizer and finance.
The Foreign Minister stressed the need to promote global structures and policies to enable all developing countries to achieve the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement. He said we need to mobilize one trillion dollars annually as investment in sustainable infrastructure like energy, transport, and housing. He said we must secure fulfillment of the pledge by the industrial countries to provide 100 billion dollars plus annually in climate finance. He said half of his amount should be allocated to climate adaptation and a financing facility to compensate developing countries for "loss and damage" from climate impacts. Meanwhile, the developed countries must assume the burden of mitigation to reach net zero emissions well before 2050.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said preferential trade access for developing countries should be enlarged and they should be offered policy space for industrialization. He said the induction of a fair international tax regime, including digital trade, is essential to enable developing countries to mobilize larger domestic resources for development. He said we should seek an equitable international information technology regime which bridges the digital divide and enables the developing countries to "leap frog" into the global digital economy of the future.
Highlighting the importance of connectivity for development and trade, investment and economic efficiency, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan looks forward to completion of the TAPI gas pipeline, the CASA 1000 electricity grid, the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railroad, as well as the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. He said once Pakistan-India relations are normalized, we can look forward to the integration of the emerging economies of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia.