Climate justice

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PAKISTAN will reportedly ask international lenders for billions of dollars worth of new loans to rebuild the country after calamitous floods uprooted thirty three million people and pushed its cash strapped economy ever closer to insolvency.

In an interview with Financial Times, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the country needs huge sums of money for mega undertakings such as rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure damaged or washed away in a deluge.

As a result of being one of the most impacted countries by the climate crisis, we have undergone floods, heat-waves, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) and wildfires, since the start of 2022.

According to initial estimates, the unprecedented floods have only inflicted a loss of forty billion dollars.

In our view, seeking loan for rebuilding the damaged infrastructure will put an additional burden on the country which is already struggling to pay off the previous debt amounting to $ 130 billion.

Since the country is bearing the brunt of the irresponsible development of industrialized nations, hence, our focus must not be on seeking loans but grants for the mammoth task of reconstruction and rehabilitation of affected population.

The UN Secretary General has also forcefully raised voice for the cause of Pakistan saying helping the climate ravaged country at this critical juncture will not be generosity but climate justice.

The floods devastation has also prompted environmental activists to call for climate reparations that would be paid by richer countries with higher emissions to lower emitting nations suffering from the brunt of climate change.

Though some countries immediately came forward to extend help in rescue and relief efforts, but overall the response has not been satisfactory.

Against the UN Flash appeal of $ 816 million dollars for relief efforts, only eighty eight million dollars have so far been received which is nothing but peanuts in the face of scale of the calamity.

The world will have to come forward in a big manner to help Pakistan cope with this challenge.

The upcoming climate conference in Egypt and then the donor conference should express full solidarity with Pakistan, not mere in words but practically, as after all it is the matter of saving the lives of millions of people who are also faced with another disaster in the form of water borne diseases.

 

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