ISLAMABAD: The top American diplomat in Pakistan on Tuesday applauded the contributions of the Pakistani diaspora and the private sector while participating in a conference organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which aimed to build back better for flood-affected communities in Pakistan.
Pakistan witnessed unprecedented monsoon rains last year which triggered flash floods and submerged about one-third of the country. The natural disaster, which was attributed to climate change, destroyed houses, farmlands and public infrastructure, causing about $30 billion in losses.
The US government has so far pledged over $200 million to support flood relief and recovery efforts, disaster resilience, and food security, while the US-Pakistani diaspora has contributed about $42 million.
Addressing the conference, Ambassador Donald Blome highlighted his country’s partnership with Pakistan to advance its economic growth and social and humanitarian causes.
“He highlighted the need for strengthening climate resilience through the US-Pakistan ‘Green Alliance’ framework and expressed the United States’ commitment to helping the US-Pakistani diaspora and Pakistan-based private companies find opportunities to strengthen climate resilience, pursue energy transformation, and foster economic growth and development outcomes,” the US embassy said in a statement.
It added the conference continued the momentum generated at similar forums organized in Islamabad last December and earlier this year in January, adding the USAID signed a combined six memoranda of understanding (MOUs) mobilizing $75 million.
The discussions held in those conferences led to mobilizing additional contributions and investments to help populations and areas affected by floods.
“In today’s conference on Building Back Better, USAID signed three MOUs with a Pakistan-based US company and US Pakistani diaspora entities, mobilizing $78 million,” the statement added.
More than 200 participants attended the conference, including members of the US-Pakistani diaspora, prominent local business leaders, US business representatives, and Pakistani officials.
“The United States remains firmly committed to engaging and partnering with the US-Pakistani diaspora and the private sector to address Pakistan’s challenges in the technology, humanitarian, social, and commercial sectors, and to further Pakistan’s development goals,” the embassy said.