Pakistan leads charge on climate action at COP28 in Dubai

DUBAI: The 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai was the first Global Stocktake, raising levels of expectation and putting high responsibility on parties for setting the stage for this decade. The negotiations extended beyond scheduled duration as countries worked tirelessly to bridge divisions and reach a consensus on a final text. The Pakistan Delegation, alongside other parties, fervently advocated for a groundbreaking climate deal that would compel nations to transition away from fossil fuels. The emphasis was on achieving this transition in a “just, orderly, and equitable manner,” with a special focus on supporting developing and vulnerable nations and taking national circumstance into consideration, a news release said.

Led by the Minister for Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, Ahmed Irfan Aslam, the Pakistan delegation, with Secretary MoCC&EC, Asif Hyder Shah, as the principal negotiator and team lead, framed Pakistan’s stance to mirror national needs and underscored the international community’s obligation to provide support within the framework of the Paris Agreement principles, ensuring inclusive development. Secretary MoCC&EC’s negotiating stance aligned with Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), strategically steering negotiations toward fulfilling NDC commitments. In the rigorous and hotly contested COP28 negotiations, Secretary Asif Hyder Shah underscored the imperative of preserving the 1.5°C target and safeguarding vulnerable countries from the intensifying impacts of climate change. He emphasized the crucial role of developed nations in providing increased financial support for mitigation and adaptation, utilizing Means of Implementation (MoI) to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement. Pakistan championed these objectives while leading key UNFCCC committees, including the Technology Executive Committee, Paris Committee on Capacity Building, Advisory Board of the Santiago Network, Standing Committee on Finance, and Loss and Damage Fund Board. The pledges for Loss and Damage this year further complemented Pakistan’s achievement in establishing the fund last year. Pakistan’s commitment to climate action manifested through active participation in numerous pledges and partnerships at COP28, encompassing initiatives such as the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP), Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI), and declarations addressing climate, health, agriculture, and more. The Pakistan Pavilion, themed “Build Resilience Together,” emerged as a dynamic hub, attracting high-level officials from Pakistan and globally. In collaboration with local and international organizations, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination (MoCC&EC) hosted 31 side events at the Pakistan Pavilion, featuring representation from Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab, and Sindh, providing a nuanced understanding of Pakistan’s challenges due to its diverse topography and cultural richness. The pavilion also showcased Pakistani artwork, drawing a steady stream of visitors. On the inaugural day, Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar introduced “Recharge Pakistan,” a seven-year, $77.8 million initiative leveraging nature to adapt to climate change. He also unveiled the state-of-the-art Climate Change Information Tracking Portal, offering climate impact modeling based on the latest data. Distinguished figures delivering statements at the Pakistan Pavilion included Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jawad Hassan, judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Lahore High Court, respectively, former Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman, and Chief Minister Sindh. Federal Ministers for Finance, Energy, and Health engaged in various international and bilateral engagements, while Chief Minister Punjab, Mohsin Raza Naqvi, played a crucial role in showcasing the achievements and challenges of the most populated province in the face of climate change. The Pavilion welcomed notable visitors, including Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, H.E. Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General & Special Representative of COP28 Presidency, Dr. Adil Najam, President of WWF, and experts from other countries, along with officials from Pakistan’s development partners, such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and UN Organizations. Civil society participation was remarkable, with representation from youth, academia, scientists, and climate experts attending at their own expense, contributing significantly to sharing Pakistan’s stance through the Pakistan Pavilion and other platforms, enhancing outreach. Pakistan’s participation at COP28 showcased a standout feature in its coordinated action, collective ownership, and building partnerships. The “Whole of Society” approach, spearheaded by MoCC&EC, was inclusive, participatory, broad-based, and representative, marking a holistic and groundbreaking approach for advancing the COP agenda.

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