FM Qureshi proposes $100 bln Commonwealth fund to fight climate change
ISLAMABAD, Oct 14: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday, expressing Pakistan’s commitment to address the issue of climate change, proposed to the developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually for an urgent climate action.
In his virtual address at Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting, he said for Pakistan alone, the total abatement cost for the intended 20 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction till 2030, was around $40 billion.
Secretary General Commonwealth Patricia Scotland, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab and the foreign ministers from Commonwealth countries attended the virtual meeting.
Qureshi said an urgent and ambitious climate agenda could only be pursued if adequate and additional climate finance was made available.
Despite Pakistan’s limited contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, it was among the most climate-vulnerable countries.
“We owe it to posterity to take urgent climate action, build resilience and adapt,” he said, adding that the government was making efforts to shift towards a ‘clean and green Pakistan’.
The Foreign Minister said no action would be sustainable unless based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities as set out by Paris Agreement.
He said Pakistan highly appreciated the Commonwealth’s climate change related initiatives including its ‘Climate Finance Action Hub’ and mentioned the already expressed willingness of his government to benefit from the services offered by the Hub.
He mentioned that Pakistan had joined the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on ‘Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods’ and also launched an ‘Eco-System Restoration Initiative’ at national level aimed at planting 10 billion trees throughout Pakistan in the upcoming three years.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) policy was meant to replace 30 percent of road vehicles with electric vehicles by 2030.
The Foreign Minister proposed that Commonwealth could learn from success stories such as Pakistan’s and helping mainstream best practices besides systems to maintain free trade and launching dialogue for debt relief for economic recovery.
He also emphasized on lending weight to calls by Prime Minister Imran Khan and other world leaders for a ‘people’s vaccine’, a regime in which all treatments and diagnoses were patent-free, mass-produced and available to all countries and people, free of cost.
He said Pakistan’s pandemic recovery rate had earned appreciation from major international organizations, including the World Health Organization.
“Through enhanced social spending, coordinated and targeted response mechanisms, and introduction of tech-driven ‘Smart Lockdowns’, we have been able to mitigate the worst fall-outs,” he said.
He mentioned that an $8 billion stimulus had helped keep the economy, businesses and households, afloat.
He lauded the positive response of world to PM Imran Khan’s ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries and Small Island Developing States.
Qureshi regretted that the pandemic was accompanied by a spike of intolerance, violence and racial discrimination, manifested in hate speech, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
He said Pakistan welcomed the Commonwealth Statement on Racism, terming it rightly focusing world attention on a growing menace. He also commended the Commonwealth’s ‘No More Campaign’ against gender, abuse and violence.
The Foreign Minister stressed upon countries not to lose sight of the common values and core principles of Commonwealth as a proud and shared heritage.