UN estimates Pakistan needs $16.3b for flood recovery

37

More than $16 billion is needed to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that submerged a third of the country last year, and to better resist the impact of climate change, the United Nations said the other day.

In a bid to meet the towering needs, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host an international conference in Geneva. The daylong event will gather high-level representatives from dozens of countries, including several heads of state and government, who have yet to be named.

While not strictly a pledging conference, UN and Pakistani representatives said that it aimed to mobilise support as the country rebuilds after the floods that left more than 1,700 people dead and affected over 30 million others.

“The needs are around $16.3 billion,” Knut Ostby, the UN Development Programme representative in Pakistan, told reporters.

Speaking by video from Islamabad, Syed Haider Shah, who heads the UN division in the foreign ministry, said his country hoped to cover half that amount through its own “domestic resources”.

“For the rest, we are looking at the donor support,” he said.

“This is a pivotal moment for the global communities to stand with the people of Pakistan,” said Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s UN envoy in Geneva, while stressing that the conference would be the beginning of a multiyear process”.

A previous appeal for $816 million to help the victims of Pakistan’s cataclysmic monsoon floods has so far resulted in less than half that amount.Yet the situation remains dire months after the monsoon rains ended, with flood waters still not receded in some southern parts of Pakistan.

In Geneva, Pakistan is due to present a document laying out a wide-ranging strategy aimed at a climate-resilient recovery and reconstruction.