ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman on Sunday applauded the creation of a special fund at the United Nations COP27 conference in Egypt to help cover the losses incurred by developing nations due to extreme weather conditions triggered by the problem of global climate change.
Rehman described the development as “an important first step” while calling for an early operationalization of the fund that was approved after long negotiations that stretched over a period of about two weeks.
According to AFP, the “loss and damages” inflicted by climate-induced disasters was not even officially up for discussion when the UN talks in Egypt began earlier this month. This changed, however, due to the effort of developing nations that insisted on making it the central focus of the conference.
“We welcome today’s announcement and joint text hammered out [through] many nights,” said Pakistan’s climate minister in a string of Twitter posts. “It’s an important first step in reaffirming the core principles of climate justice. Now that the Fund has been established, we look forward to it being operationalized, to actually become a robust body that is able to answer with agility to the needs of the vulnerable, the fragile & those on the frontline of climate disasters.”
Rehman maintained the announcement offered hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who were fighting for their survival from climate stress, adding it also gave credibility to the UN-led COP process to deal with environmental challenges.
Pakistan witnessed unprecedented monsoon rains and floods this year that claimed over 1,700 lives and destroyed houses, farmlands and public infrastructure. Extreme weather conditions were also witnessed in other parts of the world, with the people of Somalia suffering the impact of severe drought.
In an official statement issued from his office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also appreciated Rehman and her team for their hard work while pointing out that the proposed fund could benefit rehabilitation activities in the wake of the floods in his country.
“The establishment of loss & damage fund at the UN climate summit is the first pivotal step toward the goal of climate justice,” he said in a Twitter post. “It is up to the transitional committee to build on the historic development.”
The development has been widely viewed as a major achievement by developing economies that have endured major heatwaves, droughts and floods in recent years despite contributing little to the climate change phenomenon.
The conference also demanded “rapid” reduction in carbon emissions by major world economies to address the overall issue of global warming.
Pakistan’s climate minister said before the approval of the fund that its creation would be “a historic reminder to vulnerable people all over the world that they have a voice and that if they unite ... we can actually start breaking down barriers that we thought were impossible.”
Most countries facing climate-induced disasters already have weak economies and have to deal with spiraling inflation and mounting debts.
The proposed loss and damages fund gives them hope of getting some financial compensation from developed economies that are mainly responsible for unleashing extreme climate patterns with increased carbon pollution.