UN Chief Highlights Slow Progress in Reconstruction Aid for 2022 Pakistan Floods
UNITED NATIONS: A year after devastating floods submerged one-third of Pakistan, the failure to fulfill promises of rebuilding the country serves as a crucial test of climate justice, according to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the situation, stating, “Billions were pledged by wealthy nations in the aftermath of the disaster, but the majority of it came in the form of loans. Pakistan is still awaiting a significant portion of the promised funding.”
During a special session dedicated to addressing the catastrophe, the UN chief emphasized that the delays were impeding the efforts of the affected people to reconstruct their lives. He pointed out that Pakistan is a “double victim” – first of climate-related chaos and second of an outdated and unjust global financial system.
In January, approximately $9 billion was pledged to aid Pakistan’s reconstruction. However, the country is still grappling with the consequences of heavy monsoon rains, which displaced eight million people and claimed the lives of around 1,700 individuals.
Guterres highlighted that more than eight million residents in the flood-affected regions lack access to clean water. He also noted that Pakistan’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is less than one percent, making it a relatively minor contributor to the “climate chaos” witnessed last year.
“The countries that have contributed the most to global warming should bear the greatest responsibility for rectifying the damage it has caused,” Guterres emphasized.
Additionally, Guterres called for the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund for developing countries, many of which, like Pakistan, face an elevated risk of climate change despite having a relatively small carbon emissions footprint. Although such a fund was promised during COP27 late last year, it has yet to materialize. It remains on the agenda for this year’s COP28, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
Guterres renewed his call for a global shift away from fossil fuels, warning that climate change is no longer a distant threat but an urgent crisis affecting regions from Libya to the Horn of Africa, China, Canada, and beyond.