Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has hailed the news that countries ratified a hard-fought final deal at the COP27 climate summit that establishes a fund to assist impoverished countries affected by climate disasters. At the recent COP 27 summit in Egypt, it was agreed to establish a special fund to compensate countries badly impacted by global climate change. The formation of this fund is a positive development, particularly for countries such as Pakistan. The Egyptian COP27 revealed the final text for a settlement and simultaneously called a plenary session to rapidly gavel it through after difficult discussions that lasted hours. The session quickly accepted a provision in the text to establish a “loss and damage” fund to assist developing nations in bearing the immediate expenses of climate-related calamities such as storms and floods.
Credit for the creation of the fund goes to the government of Pakistan, particularly Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Environment Minister Sherry Rehman. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted Pakistan effectively led the push to accept the demand for #LossAndDamage as Chair of the G-77 plus China. This was made possible thanks to outstanding climate diplomacy. My thanks go to FM Bilawal Bhutto and all the teams who worked on this file. He tweeted: “The establishment of a loss and damage fund at the UN climate summit is the first pivotal step towards the goal of climate justice. It is up to the transitional committee to build on the historic development. I appreciate @sherryrehman & her team for their contribution and hard work”.
Climate change has had a significant impact, and more than 3.5 million people have been displaced and forced to live under the open sky as a result of recent floods, with the bulk of them still living outside their houses. The damage caused by this flood has been estimated at $35 billion, and Pakistan, as a developing country, cannot deal with this problem on its own. As experts have been telling the developed countries for a long time, if they do not adopt precautionary measures in industries that harm the natural environment, the planet’s human-friendly ecosystem will be destroyed. These countries were blinded by avarice, and poor countries are experiencing the effects of their environmentally friendly economic activity. It is not a debt, but Pakistan has the right to be compensated for this loss by receiving considerable help to re-house millions of people whose houses, farms, and businesses were destroyed owing to a lack of funding. They can be resettled and resume their usual lives. Pakistan has so far assisted flood victims with its meagre resources, but in this cold weather, a big human tragedy cannot be ignored if the international community does not collaborate.
From demand to the foundation of the Loss & Damage Fund for 134 nations, it has been a long 30-year road. It’s a significant first step in reaffirming the fundamental principles of climate justice. Now that the fund has been established, it should become a robust entity capable of responding with agility to the needs of the vulnerable, the fragile, and those on the frontlines of climate disasters with agility.