Pakistan on Monday proposed creating a separate “loss and damage” financing window through international financial institutions as an immediate response to climate change-related natural disasters in developing countries.
This was announced by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in New York on Monday at a Pakistan-organized high-level special event on “Loss & Damage: New and Additional Financing” on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Federal Foreign Office said in a statement from Islamabad.
The meeting was attended by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry – who also chairs the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (CoP-27) – all major blocs in the climate negotiations and a representative of the Green Climate Fund.
Bilawal shared details of the recent floods in Pakistan, which have affected one in seven Pakistanis, some 33 million people, apart from affecting more than half of the country.
The floods, Bilawal said, “were a clear manifestation of the unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.”
According to initial estimates, the total damage caused by this climate-related catastrophe could exceed US$30 billion, equivalent to 10% of Pakistan’s gross domestic product.
He stressed that developing countries like Pakistan have suffered disproportionately over the years from the vagaries of climate change while contributing only a tiny amount to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Although Pakistan contributed only 0.8% to greenhouse gas emissions, it was consistently ranked among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change,” Bilawal said.
While highlighting a proposal put forward by Pakistan, as chair of the G77, and China to include discussions on the financing of losses and damages on the COP-27 agenda, he called for the creation of a separate financing window for losses and damages by international financial institutions.
“Development of a debt restructuring modality by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for immediate response to climate-related natural disasters in developing countries,” he called for.
He expressed hope that a decision would be made on developing a financial mechanism to compensate developing countries for “losses and damages”.
Shoukry agreed that loss and damage is a reality and that it needs to be addressed holistically at CoP-27.
He also referred to the UN Secretary-General’s call for the development of adequate “early warning systems” that could play an effective role in averting and minimizing damage from climate-related disasters.