Monday, November 7, 2022

COP27: Pakistan Leads Push For "Loss and Damage" Compensation at Sharm El-Sheikh

COP27, the United Nations climate summit,  opened in Egypt on Sunday with the addition of negotiations over funding to compensate nations for “loss and damage” as an official agenda item. Pakistan led the push for it with the support of 134 developing nations. Discussions at COP26 in Scotland were mainly focused on funding "mitigation" and "adaptation", not compensation for "loss and damage".  

Pakistan Pavilion at COP27 Conference in Sharm Al-Sheikh, Egypt

The "loss and damage" agenda item was proposed by Pakistan during talks at Bonn after the country suffered heavy losses in unprecedented floods that hit a third of the country.  “My country, Pakistan, has seen floods that have left 33 million lives in tatters and have caused loss and damage amounting to 10% of the GDP,” said Ambassador Munir Akram, the 2022 chair of the G77—a group of 134 developing countries, at the opening session of COP27 at Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions By Country/Region. Source: The World

Pakistan has contributed only 0.28% of the CO2 emissions but it is among the biggest victims of climate change. The US, Europe, India, China and Japan, the world's biggest polluters, must accept responsibility for the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and climate disasters elsewhere. A direct link of the disaster in Pakistan to climate change has been confirmed by a team of 26 scientists affiliated with World Weather Attribution, a research initiative that specializes in rapid studies of extreme events, according to the New York Times

Top 5 Current Polluters. Source: Our World in Data

Currently, the biggest annual CO2 emitters are China, the US, India and Russia. Pakistan's annual CO2 emissions add up to just 235 million tons. On the other hand, China contributes 11.7 billion tons, the United States 4.5 billion tons, India 2.4 billion tons, Russia 1.6 billion tons and Japan 1.06 billion tons. 

Pakistan's Annual CO2 Emission. Source: Our World in Data

The United States has contributed 399 billion tons (25%) of CO2 emissions, the highest cumulative carbon emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. The 28 countries of the European Union (EU28), including the United Kingdom, come in second with 353 billion tons of CO2 (22%), followed by China with 200 billion tons (12.7%). 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan's cumulative CO2 contribution in its entire history is just 4.4 billion tons (0.28%). Among Pakistan's neighbors, China's cumulative contribution is 200 billion tons (12.7%),  India's 48 billion tons (3%) and Iran's 17 billion tons (1%).  

Developing Asian Nations' CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but it has become one of its biggest victims. In the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, signatories agreed to recognize and “address” the loss and damage caused by those dangerous climate impacts, according to the Washington Post. Last year, at the major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, negotiators from developing countries tried to establish a formal fund to help the countries like Pakistan most affected by climate disasters. It was blocked by rich countries led by the Biden administration. Formal addition of "loss and damage" item at this year's COP27 conference agenda is a good start. Let's hope that a formal  fund is established by the world's top polluters to compensate Pakistan and other developing nations. 


Riaz Haq said...

Cop27 news – live: Pakistan PM says time for rich nations to help is ‘now or never’
‘We are spending billions of rupees from our own meagre resources, says Pakistani PM

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif made an emotional plea in a speech at the COP27 summit this afternoon in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, calling on richer nations to help countries that are reeling from the effects of the climate crisis.

During his speech, he said it was “now or never” to take action and that “for us, there is no ‘planet B’”.

“This COP rings an alarm bell for humanity, it is the only platform where the survival of the human race as a goal still holds promise,” he said.

“It is also the forum where we as vulnerable countries take our case to the rich and the resourced to build a road map to crucial policy resets needed in a world that is burning up faster than our capacity for recovery.”

He added that the nation is being forced to spend billions of rupees from its own “meagre resources” and will enter a “debt trap” if it continues to pay for the damages.

Mr Sharif’s comments come in the wake of devastating floods across parts of Pakistan, which have affected 33 million people and caused an estimated $40bn (£35bn ) in damages.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Monsoon Floods - Situation Report #5, November 8, 2022

Fast Facts

1,739 deaths, 12,867 injuries

2,288,481 homes damaged

13,115 kilometers of roads affected

Update by Province


336 deaths, 187 injuries

32 districts affected

115,822 houses destroyed, 125,837 damaged

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

309 deaths, 370 injuries

17 districts affected

37,525 houses destroyed, 53,939 damaged


223 deaths, 3,858 injuries

Three districts affected

25,854 houses destroyed, 42,127 damaged


799 deaths, 8,422 injuries

24 districts affected

716,819 houses destroyed, 1,168,210 damaged

Tens of millions of people in Pakistan have been affected by the flooding, caused by devastating monsoon rains, that has engulfed one-third of the country. There have been more than 1,700 deaths, and more than 6 million people remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Many people live in unsanitary conditions in temporary shelters on the roads, often with limited access to basic services, heightening the risk of a major public health crisis.

Though flood water has started receding in many districts of Sindh and Balochistan during the last few weeks, standing water remains in many districts, leading to outbreaks of water- and vector-borne diseases—a problem compounded by the destruction of health facilities by the floods.
Among other challenges, low stocks of essential medicines and medical supplies, and limits to access, are becoming hurdles to providing adequate health services to people in need.

The winter season in many of the affected areas is approaching fast and is likely to negatively affect the population in the coming weeks. Without adequate shelters and blankets, the health situation will quickly worsen.

The floods have also aggravated food insecurity and malnutrition in affected areas, with predictions that about 14.6 million people will require emergency food assistance from December through March 2023. According to the latest National Nutrition Survey estimates, almost 1.6 million children in Sindh and Balochistan are at the risk of malnutrition that will require treatment; stunting rates among these children will rise if they do not receive treatment in a timely manner.

Zen, Germany said...


to my knowledge Pak is providing mercenaries to police Qatar world cup. When population grows uncontrollably you have to be creative. On the other hand, given racist and islamophobic campaign against them, its fair enough to support, even if you get paid

Riaz Haq said...

#COP27: Small #island nations want #India, #China to pay for climate compensation fund. Top polluters must pay for the damage to the climate, said Gaston Browne, prime minister of #Antigua and #Barbuda. #LossAndDamage #Pakistan via @scroll_in

The Prime Minister of the island nation Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, said on Tuesday that highly polluting emerging economies, such as China and India, should contribute to a climate compensation fund to help other countries rebuild infrastructure after climate change-driven disasters, reported Reuters.

Browne made the comments while speaking on behalf of the Association of Small Island States negotiating bloc at the United Nations Conference of Parties, or COP27, which is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

At the conference, developing countries have sought financing from developed countries to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. They have also demanded funds to deal with irreparable loss and damage caused by disasters that climate change is making significantly more frequent and intense.

“We all know that the People’s Republic of China, India – they’re major polluters, and the polluter must pay,” Browne said on Tuesday, reported Reuters. “I don’t think that there’s any free pass for any country and I don’t say this with any acrimony.”

China, the United States, and India were the top emitters of carbon dioxide in 2020, according to Our World in Data by Reuters.

More than 90% of India’s population lives in areas where air quality is below World Health Organization standards, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Coal-fired power plants, factories and vehicles are among the major sources of pollution in the country

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan at COP27 demands climate aid, says 'dystopia' already here

or 'there's a a 50-50 allocation in terms of priority between mitigation-adaptation', it's not going to mean very much to somebody whose house has been burned down by a forest fire or somebody who has lost a family member in the floods," she said. Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called on rich countries to offer compensation and debt relief to help cover Pakistan's efforts to rebuild and fortify the country against more severe climate impacts.

Pakistan will not be satisfied unless U.N. climate summit negotiators unlock emergency cash for the country to rebuild after this year's devastating floods, its climate minister said Thursday. "The dystopia has already come to our doorstep," the country's climate minister, Sherry Rehman, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the COP27 summit in Egypt.

She lamented the glacial pace of climate diplomacy, saying it cannot meet the needs of a country struggling to recover from climate-fueled flooding that caused more than $30 billion in economic losses. "The political advances we make here will have very little meaning on the ground unless there is a transfer of resources that shifts the needle on how people face the future," she said.

Pakistan is playing a high-profile role at the COP27 summit in Egypt this year, serving as one of two co-chairs invited by conference host Egypt, with the other being Norway. Pakistan also represents the G77 umbrella group of developing countries, pushing for a doubling in finance to help poor nations adapt to climate impacts.

To date, only about a third of climate finance delivered has gone toward adaptation projects

, and the full sum promised - $100 billion per year - has never been paid in full. Last year saw just over $80 billion transferred. Pakistan was key to getting the thorny issue of "loss and damage" onto the official U.N. summit agenda - a diplomatic coup after decades of resistance from rich nations. The move opened the door for talks to address vulnerable countries' demand to be compensated when hit by climate-fueled disasters.

But incremental progress made in these discussions, which can go on for years, still wouldn't be enough for Pakistanis back at home to consider the talks a win, she said. "If I say, 'well, adaptation has now been put as a priority' ... or 'there's a a 50-50 allocation in terms of priority between mitigation-adaptation', it's not going to mean very much to somebody whose house has been burned down by a forest fire or somebody who has lost a family member in the floods," she said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called on rich countries to offer compensation and debt relief to help cover Pakistan's efforts to rebuild and fortify the country against more severe climate impacts. September's floods engulfed vast areas of the country, affecting some 33 million people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Rehman said that any new money pledged either for loss and damage or for adaptation needs to be followed up "with speed and agility", because countries like Pakistan have no time to waste. She said she supported the call by the United States, Britain and other countries to overhaul international financial institutions to better respond to the disasters expected as the atmosphere continues to warm.

"There is a recognition [at COP27] that we are facing a new climate normal for the world," she said. "But there still isn't a recognition that the financial system that's been running the world ... is not going to be able to bail out the millions that are dying and in need."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan needs $348bn to respond to climate, development challenges between 2023 and 2030: WB

The World Bank (WB) has estimated that the total investment needed for a comprehensive response to Pakistan’s climate and development challenges between 2023 and 2030 amounts to around $348 billion, according to a report at the UN’s climate summit on Wednesday.

The estimated amount — equal to 10.7 per cent of cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the same period — was evaluated in the ‘Country Climate and Development Report’ for Pakistan, which was presented at the climate change summit held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

This amount consists of $152bn for adaptation and resilience and $196bn for deep de-carbonisation.

The report warned that the combined risks from the intensification of climate change and environmental degradation, unless addressed, would further aggravate Pakistan’s economic fragility and could ultimately reduce the annual GDP by 18pc to 20pc per year by 2050.

Between 6.5pc and 9pc of the GDP would likely be lost to climate change as increased floods and heatwaves reduce agriculture and livestock yields, destroy infrastructure, decrease labour productivity, and undermine health.

Additionally, water shortages in agriculture could reduce the GDP by more than 4.6pc and air pollution could impose a loss of 6.5pc of the GDP per year, the report warns.

It went on that a comprehensive climate-financing strategy would need to be developed with higher domestic resource mobilisation, more accountable and impactful allocation of public spending, and higher levels of international climate finance.

Given the size of expected climate shocks, the report deemed greater concessional international finance essential.

While the country “could and should forcefully make its case for this”, the report also stated that donors may be more willing to offer sustained support if revenue leakage and governance issues were systematically addressed.

Targets of nationally determined contribution
The report further asked the government to prioritise interventions that simultaneously deliver development outcomes and climate benefits and sequence policy actions realistically, based on their overall impact and relative urgency.

It, however, added that as the magnitude of the recent floods showed, the government may also be forced to evaluate some hard trade-offs between investing in climate adaptation and other development interventions.

The National Action Plan proposed under the nationally determined contribution (NDC) ought to be developed and implemented, the report said.

It added that mainstreaming climate priorities into broader development plans would be a critical starting point.

Furthermore, climate and disaster risk screening and climate budgeting should be embedded within the public financial management system to improve the transparency and efficiency of public spending on climate actions.

A climate-resilient, low-carbon, and equitable development pathway would enable Pakistan to reach its NDC targets, the report emphasised.

Financing composition available over next decade not enough
According to the report, the heatwave and devastating floods of 2022 call for urgent climate action in Pakistan.

The level of damage sustained is clearly the result of intensifying climate change but it also highlighted the lack of investment in adaptation and the concentrated exposure of population and vulnerable assets in high-risk areas, the report noted.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan needs $348bn to respond to climate, development challenges between 2023 and 2030: WB

It added that considering the scale of the shocks, Pakistan would need increased international support in order to build longer-term resilience or else its hard-won development gains and future aspirations could be jeopardised.

An illustrative assessment based on a retrospective review of the level of funding in recent years suggests that the current financing composition available over the next decade can be estimated to be around $39bn from public finance — including multilateral development banks financing — and $9bn from public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects.

However, the report deemed it to be not enough to address the identified priority transitions.

Possible measures to generate revenue
As Pakistan is calling for additional international financing, the report encouraged the government to explore the repurposing of subsidies in the energy, agriculture and water sectors along with improving tax and tariff collection.

This could be done while protecting the poorest and most vulnerable through well-targeted programmes and transfers, it suggested.

Specifically, it added that Pakistan could maintain its commitment to energy decarbonisation and accelerate comprehensive reform in the energy sector, including piloting the implementation of carbon pricing instruments.

The WB report estimated that if fully implemented, the combined revenue of these measures could result in around $10bn per year.

It also emphasised that the repurposing of existing subsidies was necessary for growth and climate resilience, and to do this effectively, the historical experience highlighted the need for careful communication and phasing of reform efforts.

This was to ensure a gradual process that has political and social acceptance, as well as the protection of poor households and farmers, especially during the transition.

The report’s key recommendations included phasing down the wheat support system, gradually removing the power tariff subsidy on electric tubewells, piloting new models for the solarisation of tubewells and incentivising water conservation to avoid an adverse impact on groundwater substantially.

Gradually phasing down the natural gas subsidy for chemical fertiliser production was also suggested.

Furthermore, it advised rechanneling fiscal savings from the reform of long-standing subsidies as smart subsidies to poorer farmers to promote resilient farming practices.

Adopting climate-smart practices, making Pakistan climate-resilient
Climate-smart and regenerative agricultural practices could reverse the decline in productivity, enhance the viability of the agri-food system, and reverse ecosystem degradation, the report said.

Key actions to be taken for the broad adoption of such practices included investing in research on context-specific methods for scaling up climate-smart and regenerative farming while improving coordination between research and dissemination.

Modernising extension services and improving access to credit, machinery, and technology were also recommended.

The report deemed it essential to invest in the development of sustainable value chains with a focus on access by smallholder farmers, potentially through participatory multi-stakeholder forums.

The report also called for making Pakistan’s cities more climate-resilient and livable which would enhance their competitiveness and lower emissions.

However, this would require investment and improved management of urban services, it noted.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan needs $348bn to respond to climate, development challenges between 2023 and 2030: WB

It further said that the way cities — major contributors to greenhouse gases and have high levels of air pollution — have developed and are managed, also makes them highly vulnerable to climate disasters.

The report estimated that if Pakistan reduced air pollution to internationally established standards, premature deaths could decline by up to 53pc by 2030 and be fully eliminated by 2040.

This would significantly cut health costs while achieving climate mitigation benefits.

Reforming the power sector
The report stressed there was an urgent need to strengthen the institutional and revenue generation capacity of local governments for improving service provision and attracting private investment.

Cities need to prioritise actions that create sustainable revenue streams for investment in resilient infrastructure and improved delivery of basic municipal services, it said.

The report stated that Pakistan’s energy and transport sectors were highly polluting and a drain on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

It added that transitioning to sustainable energy and transport was feasible and would contribute significantly to development and climate goals.

Imported fossil fuels provide 43pc of the country’s energy supply and cost the country $13bn annually.

Even though electricity costs are high, the country’s reliability and quality of supply are poor. There are also gaps in access to electricity and clean cooking fuel, particularly in rural areas.

According to the WB report, the needed reforms in the power sector include the setting of cost-reflective tariffs, improving the targeting of subsidies, reducing the cost of generation and addressing inefficiencies in distribution.

Pakistan would also need to improve demand-side efficiency, with special attention given to industry and transport considering their significance in terms of energy consumption and long-term decarbonisation.

Analysis showed that a sustainable energy transition and the application of a carbon tax would support higher growth, reduce emissions and pollution and, with the right policies, protect the poor.

Population crisis
The report recommended that Pakistan needed to address its human capital crisis to sustain economic progress and the transition to a green and resilient economy.

One of the most important priorities facing the country was to improve the population’s health status, particularly child stunting, which affects 40pc of the population.

It further added that an accelerated decline in the fertility rate would have similarly large benefits for both equitable growth and resilience.

Accelerating the fertility decline in Pakistan to reach replacement levels by 2035 — instead of the currently projected timeline of 2050 — would reduce its expected population in 2050 from 336 million to about 303m, the report pointed out.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR)

Integrating climate and development is a pillar of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Climate Change Action Plan 2021-25. To advance its implementation, the WBG has launched the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR). This new, core diagnostic tool analyzes how a country’s development goals can be achieved in the context of adapting to, and mitigating against, climate change. As such, the Pakistan CCDR provides analysis and policy recommendations on how to harmonize the country’s efforts to achieve further economic growth and lower poverty rates, on the one hand, with the pursuit of a climate-resilient, low-carbon, and equitable development path, on the other. In light of the devastating 2022 heatwaves and floods and the country’s vulnerability profile, the CCDR puts a strong emphasis on the need for building long-term resilience. Further, it explores pathways for Pakistan to achieve deep decarbonization by 2050, and eventually reach net-zero emissions by 2070 without undermining its development ambitions. It also provides assessment on technical, financial and institutional and governance frameworks needed for these climate transitions. Most importantly, it attempts to capture the centrality of people in climate policies by assessing how climate risks affect lives and livelihoods, and ways in which governments can build resilience and address poverty, distributional and job impact of climate change and climate actions. Lastly, it sheds lights on ways for Pakistan to galvanize cooperation between public and private sectors and support from international communities.

Riaz Haq said...

These Countries Have Pledged Loss & Damage Finance at UN Climate Change Conference COP27

On Monday, Belgium’s Minister for Development Cooperation Frank Vandenbroucke said the country would provide €2.5 million (around US$2.5 million) in loss and damage funding for Mozambique, with the money expected to provide the climate-vulnerable East African nation with storm warning systems and advanced intel on at-risk coastal areas.

Austria’s Climate Ministry announced it would allocate €50 million from its existing budget over the next four years to fund loss and damage in the world’s most vulnerable countries, with Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler claiming her country was “becoming a pioneer in international climate financing.”

New Zealand joined Belgium and Austria, committing NZ$20 million (almost US$12 million) to loss and damage globally.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would provide €170 million to the Global Shield Against Climate Risks initiative — a fund dedicated to providing climate risk insurance and prevention support for at-risk nations. Just over €80 million will be devoted to the “central financing structure” of the shield, with the rest for “complementary” climate risk programs.

On Wednesday, Canada joined Belgium, Austria, New Zealand, and Germany by redefining its climate spending, announcing that $24 million (about US$18 million) from the nation’s former $5.3 billion International Climate Finance Commitment would be dedicated to the “needs and priorities of developing countries.”

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Miche├íl Martin committed €10 million to the Global Shield initiative.

Riaz Haq said...

COP27: India thwarts attempt to club it with historical polluters
In the run-up to COP27, India had said the MWP cannot be allowed to "change the goal posts" set by the Paris Agreement

Supported by other developing countries, India blocked an attempt by rich nations to focus on all top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide during discussions on the 'Mitigation Work Programme' at the ongoing U.N. climate summit in Egypt, sources said on Monday.

During the first week of the climate talks, developed countries desired that all top 20 emitters, including India and China, discuss intense emission cuts and not just the rich nations which are historically responsible for climate change, they said.

There are developing countries in the top 20 emitters, including India, that are not responsible for warming that has already occurred.

According to the sources, India pushed back the attempt with the support of like-minded developing countries, including China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.

The "MWP should not lead to the reopening of the Paris Agreement" which clearly mentions that climate commitments of countries have to be nationally determined based on circumstances, India and other developing countries reportedly said.

At COP26 in Glasgow last year, parties acknowledged that a 45% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2030 (as compared to 2010 levels) is required to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius.

Accordingly, they agreed to develop a Mitigation Work Programme (MWP) to "urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation". Mitigation means reducing emissions, ambition means setting stronger targets and implementation means meeting new and existing goals.

Coming into COP27, developing countries had raised concerns that rich nations, through the MWP, will push them to revise their climate targets without enhancing the supply of technology and finance.

In the run-up to COP27, India had said the MWP cannot be allowed to "change the goal posts" set by the Paris Agreement.

"In the Mitigation Work Programme, best practices, new technologies and new modes of collaboration for technology transfer and capacity building may be discussed fruitfully," the Union Environment Ministry had said.

An analysis by Carbon Brief shows the U.S. has released more than 509 Gt CO2 since 1850 and is responsible for the largest share of historical emissions, with some 20% of the global total. China is a relatively distant second, with 11%, followed by Russia (7%). India is in seventh place, with 3.4% of the cumulative total.

Earth's global surface temperature has increased by around 1.15 degree Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial (1850–1900) average and the CO2 spewed into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution is closely tied to it. Major damage had already been done before 1990 when economies like India started to develop.

According to "Global Carbon Budget Report 2022", more than half of the world's CO2 emissions in 2021 were from three places — China (31%), the U.S. (14%), and the European Union (8%). At the fourth spot, India accounted for 7% of the global CO2 emissions.

However, at 2.4 tCO2e (tonne carbon dioxide equivalent), India's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are far below the world average of 6.3 tCO2e, according to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) last month.

Per capita emissions in the U.S. (14 tCO2e) are far above the global average, followed by Russia (13 tCO2e), China (9.7 tCO2e), Brazil and Indonesia (around 7.5 tCO2e each), and the European Union (7.2 tCO2e).

Riaz Haq said...

Paying for Climate Damage Isn’t Charity

By Ani Dasgupta

Mr. Dasgupta is the president and C.E.O. of the World Resources Institute.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — The climate crisis has reached new levels of devastation this year for millions of people in vulnerable countries that didn’t cause the problem. Floods in Pakistan, drought in the Horn of Africa and hurricanes in the Dominican Republic — all intensified by climate change — have ruined people’s livelihoods, causing losses so immense that it is hard for many in richer countries to even fathom.

For nearly three decades, the countries most vulnerable to climate disasters have asked wealthy countries to help them pay for the damage, only to be stonewalled.

At the annual United Nations climate conference this week, the issue is formally on the agenda, a breakthrough in itself. Encouragingly a smattering of wealthy countries, including Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium and Denmark, have started to pledge money — albeit small amounts.

These contributions are welcome, although some of the pledges reallocate funds from other pots of climate finance, or are putting money toward insurance, or early warning systems — not the kind of funding that poorer countries seek.

What these countries have been calling for, and urgently need, is a collective funding stream within the United Nations that helps them recover from devastating losses from disasters, rising seas and other climate impacts.

The United States and European Union must get behind this movement now. Specific details on how much money, where it comes from, who gets it and what qualifies take time to work out. But what’s critical at the current climate conference is that wealthy countries agree to a process, with clear deadlines, to pay for the damage.

It’s not a matter of charity. Taking action is firmly in rich countries’ own interests. As climate change bears down, more factories and ports around the world — the ones that wealthy nations rely on for their phones, car parts, fast fashion and even food — will close, devastating global supply chains. Food prices will rise. More people will be displaced, leading to additional migration crises. Conflict will grow more likely as people fight over land and water. The repercussions will destabilize even the most robust economies. Preventing that outcome now, by financing recovery from climate damage, will ensure a more stable future for everyone.

This kind of funding is called “loss and damage,” and it is meant to address climate impacts that people can’t simply adapt to. The concept may seem wonky, but it’s not: Loss has a name. Damage has an address.

Where do the millions in Pakistan turn now that they’ve been displaced by floods? What do small farmers in Kenya do when a prolonged drought makes it impossible to grow crops to feed their families? All over the world, people are facing excruciating decisions every day.

Rich countries generally have the resources to weather these climate impacts. In the United States last year, 54 percent of disaster-related losses were insured, compared to just 3 percent on average in the world’s 77 poorest countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Paying for Climate Damage Isn’t Charity

By Ani Dasgupta

Mr. Dasgupta is the president and C.E.O. of the World Resources Institute.

The United States and European Union have rejected or stalled on this kind of financial assistance, raising concerns that committing funds for climate loss and damage could seem like an admission of guilt, and open the door to a flood of lawsuits. But the 2015 Paris agreement should already have put that concern to rest, since it makes clear that “averting, minimizing and addressing” loss and damage “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”

Some developed countries claim that humanitarian aid already meets the need. It does not. Humanitarian aid provides immediate shelter and food relief after a disaster strikes, but is not available, for example, to the Fijian islander who must relocate because of rising seas, or the fisherman in Palau whose livelihood evaporates after tuna migrate to cooler waters.

The initial loss and damage commitments are politically important. Yet the need is exponentially greater — these costs worldwide could reach $290 billion to $580 billion in 2030, according to one estimate.

A new fund to hold parties responsible could change the lives of billions of people on the front lines of climate change, offering a path to recovery where none exists today. When a cyclone hits, a government could quickly apply for funding and distribute it to help people rebuild destroyed homes. For continuing issues like droughts, the money could help farmers diversify their skills when their original livelihoods are no longer viable. But it could also improve the lives of people in wealthy countries, by building resilience to global supply chains, by stabilizing the economies where their businesses import and export goods, by creating the conditions for a more peaceful world.

As Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said this week at the conference, “Countries in the Global North that have caused climate change and have the greatest access to resources have an obligation to step up.”

Any more stonewalling by wealthy nations on finance for loss and damage could derail the entire climate negotiations here in Egypt. The world’s ability to tackle climate change hinges on trust between developed and developing countries, and without concrete progress to address these severe losses and damage, that trust risks being broken.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: 2022 Monsoon Floods - Situation Report No. 11 (As of 11 November 2022)


As people continue to return to their places of origin and with the winter season approaching, the vulnerabilities of the flood-affected people are further heightened with an immediate need for adequate shelter, food items and tents.

More than 5.1 million women are of reproductive age, including an estimated 410,846 pregnant women. Approximately 136,950 births are expected in the next three months.

A comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (September) prices of some food commodities indicates a huge increase in prices.

As of 11 November, humanitarian partners have reached 7.9 million people with life-saving assistance in flood-affected areas.

Vector-borne and water-borne diseases remain a major concern in flood-affected areas. Around 1,000 confirmed cholera cases and 64,767 dengue fever cases, with 147 deaths, have been reported.


Over the past few weeks, flooded waters have continued to recede in many flood-affected areas across Pakistan, although vast volumes of persistent flood waters remain stagnant in many places, particularly Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Based on observations by the United Nations (UN) Satellite Centre between 03 October and 09 October 2022 and compared with observations between 11 and 17 October 2022, the overall flood water continues to decrease with approximately 200 km2 in Balochistan, 100km2 in Punjab and 4000 km2 in Sindh. According to the latest data, large parts of Kashmore, Jacobabad, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar in Sindh observed significant water reduction. In most affected districts of Sindh, local governments are de-watering land to allow people to resume their livelihoods.

In the flood-impacted areas, many households rely on agriculture and livestock production for their livelihoods, and damage to these sectors will have a major impact on food security and the agriculture sector in the coming months. According to information from the field, farmers reported debt of around PKR 100,000-150,000 on average due to damages to their crops. Most of the Kharif season crop damage occurred in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, and most of the livestock losses occurred in Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab.

The uncertain economic situation in the country, exacerbated by the heavy monsoon floods, is creating significant challenges to local ecosystems and food supply chains. According to World Food Program (WFP), a comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (September) prices of some food commodities indicated a huge increase in prices - wheat flour 32%, pulse moong 57%, tomatoes 138%, potatoes 45%, and onions 44%. In September alone, prices increased for staple cereals, including wheat flour (+17.2%), wheat (+10.2%), rice Irri-6 (+7.9%), and rice Basmati (+2.3%) compared to August 2022. As for non-cereal food commodities, the trend remains - a significant increase was noted in the average retail prices of pulse Moong (18.6%), live chicken (14.1%), eggs (13.8%), pulses Gram (6.7%) and Mash (6.5%).

Cases of water and vector-borne diseases and acute respiratory illnesses, especially among children and older adults, remain a key public health challenge in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan. As of 8 November, according to World Health Organization (WHO), around 8 million flood-affected people need health assistance, including the provision of essential medical supplies and access to essential health care. As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they face an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: 2022 Monsoon Floods - Situation Report No. 11 (As of 11 November 2022)

Cases of water and vector-borne diseases and acute respiratory illnesses, especially among children and older adults, remain a key public health challenge in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan. As of 8 November, according to World Health Organization (WHO), around 8 million flood-affected people need health assistance, including the provision of essential medical supplies and access to essential health care. As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they face an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities. Since the beginning of the year, around 1,000 confirmed cholera cases and 64,767 dengue fever cases, with 147 deaths, have been reported. Furthermore, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as of 10 November, more than 5.1 million women are of reproductive age (15-49 years), including an estimated 410,846 women who are currently pregnant, with approximately 136,950 births expected in the next three months. For these women, there is a need to strengthen health systems, train health workers, educate midwives and improve access to the full range of reproductive health services.

Water, sanitation and hygiene face heightened challenges due to the destruction of water infrastructure and low availability of clean water for bathing, cooking and drinking, with families resorting to contaminated water for daily use. Even before the floods, according to the World Bank, the country faced high water shortage risks for non-agricultural purposes. Under a high-growth (4.9 per cent per year) and high-warming (3°C by 2047) scenario, water demand is projected to increase by almost 60 per cent, with the highest rates of the increase coming from the domestic and industrial sectors. Climate warming will account for up to 15 per cent of this increase in demand. Moreover, climate-related shocks like the current floods will continue to put additional strain on access to safe water for communities.

As of 11 November, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recorded 1,739 deaths and 12,867 injuries since mid-June. In addition, more than 2.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed, 13,115 kilometres of roads damaged, 439 bridges destroyed, and over 1.1 million livestock lost. Furthermore, as the winter season in many of the affected areas is approaching fast, the vulnerabilities of the flood-affected people are further heightened with the immediate need for shelter, food items and non-food items.

Riaz Haq said...

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - Pakistan, Ghana and Bangladesh will be among the first recipients of funding from a G7 'Global Shield' initiative to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters, the programme announced on Monday at the COP27 summit in Egypt.,the%20COP27%20summit%20in%20Egypt.

The Global Shield, coordinated by G7 president Germany, aims to provide rapid access for climate-vulnerable countries to insurance and disaster protection funding after floods or drought. It is being developed in collaboration with the 'V20' group of 58 climate vulnerable economies.

A statement issued by Germany on Monday listed Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal as some of the initial recipients of Global Shield packages.

Those packages would be developed in the coming months, Germany said.

Riaz Haq said...

As the Cop27 global climate conference began its second week in Sharm El Sheikh on Monday, a new funding initiative to help poorer nations handle the effects of climate change was launched by G7 nations.

Called Global Shield, the new mechanism is backed by the V20 group of climate-vulnerable nations and will initially receive more than €200 million ($206m) in funding, mostly from Germany.

At Cop27, the issue of loss and damage was listed on the agenda for the first time ever at a UN climate conference.

Climate-vulnerable countries say wealthy industrialised nations should help to pay for irreversible damage from floods, storms and rising seas, after decades of emissions caused global temperatures to rise.

The Global Shield, co-ordinated by G7 president Germany, aims to provide climate-vulnerable countries with rapid access to insurance and disaster protection funding after floods or drought.

It is being developed in collaboration with 58 climate-vulnerable economies to bring together climate risk finance and preparedness.

The fund will both help nations prepare for climate change and respond to natural disasters sparked by rising temperatures.

"Climate-related disasters have devastating impacts on poor people in particular," said Svenja Schulze, Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"They often do not have the means to protect themselves and their homes, fields or businesses against extreme weather and can lose their entire possessions when a disaster strikes."

She stressed that the scheme was not "a tactic" to sidestep calls for a specific loss and damage funding mechanism.

"The Global Shield isn't the one and only solution for loss and damage, certainly not," she said, adding that more funding will be needed to cover more countries.

"Those most affected by climate impacts need practical action now."

Ireland's Taoiseach Micheal Martin also committed €10 million, telling the gathered diplomats and world leaders that what were "once exceptional events are now occurring with increased frequency and ferocity. People in the poorest parts of our planet are being driven from regions that can no longer support and sustain them”.

France stumped up an initial $20 million, saying its total commitment would be $60 million over three years. Canada and Denmark will contribute $7 million and $4.7 million respectively.

US President Joe Biden has also backed the plan.

As the conference continues, Germany will be hoping for more contributions, but some are sceptical.

EU negotiator Jacob Werksman said talks were not ready to agree on a single funding solution, but he hoped the Cop27 summit would achieve more than just scheduling further talks on climate compensation.

"We don't think that this process is ready to agree in principle that a new fund or facility is the right or the only way forward," he said.

A statement issued by Germany on Monday listed Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal as some of the initial recipients of Global Shield packages, although 58 nations are in talks over the programme.

Those packages would be developed in the coming months, Germany said.

Riaz Haq said...

As the Cop27 global climate conference began its second week in Sharm El Sheikh on Monday, a new funding initiative to help poorer nations handle the effects of climate change was launched by G7 nations.

A statement issued by Germany on Monday listed Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal as some of the initial recipients of Global Shield packages, although 58 nations are in talks over the programme.

Those packages would be developed in the coming months, Germany said.

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta called it “a path-breaking effort” that would help protect communities when lives and livelihoods are lost.

But civil society groups were sceptical, warning that the programme should not be used as a way to distract from the much broader effort to get big polluters to pay for the loss and damage they have already caused with their greenhouse gases.

Poorer, vulnerable nations also want financing to help them shift to clean energy and for projects to adapt to global warming.

Teresa Anderson of ActionAid International said the scheme showed that the global community recognised the need to act on loss and damage, but said it was a "distraction" from negotiations on a dedicated funding mechanism for climate damages.

"Everyone knows that insurance companies, by their very nature, are either reluctant to provide coverage, or reluctant to pay out," she said. "But when it comes to loss and damage, this is a matter of life and death."

Riaz Haq said...

The next wave of mass migration
Extreme weather events are likely to become the main cause behind waves of immigration toward Europe.

urricane Ian, which disrupted the lives of millions when it swept over the Gulf of Mexico in late September this year, will not soon be forgotten. Torrential rains and winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour produced an extraordinary surge that flooded not only coastal areas but also their hinterland.

At the same time, Typhoon Noru was slamming into the Philippines. Earlier this year, Hurricane Fiona formed near Puerto Rico and hit Canada with unprecedented force, and Typhoon Nanmadol drove 9 million people to evacuate from their homes in Japan. Typhoon Merbok devastated Alaska with waves more than 50 feet high. Pakistan saw dramatic floods, aggravated by melting local glaciers. Leaving as much as one third of the country underwater, and more than 1,600 people and 800,000 livestock dead, the disaster will change the face of Pakistan for decades. The United Nations has called these phenomena the footprint of climate change.

Although Africa’s 54 states have not contributed significantly to the global emissions that accelerated climate change, the continent is one of the hardest hit. Desertification, dust storms and rising sea levels are poised to wreak havoc on large segments of the African populace.

By 2100, Africa is expected to account for 40 percent of the global population, which will grow to 11 billion. There will likely be 2.5 billion Africans by 2050. Amar Bhattacharya of the Brookings Institution writes that this growth will require an extraordinary increase in investment in “three critical areas: energy transitions and related investments in sustainable infrastructure; investments in climate change adaptation and resilience; and restoration of natural capital (through agriculture, food and land use practices) and biodiversity. … Altogether, Africa will need to invest around $200 billion per year by 2025 and close to $400 billion per year by 2030 on these priorities.”

African governments will be the first line of defense to safeguard the continent’s biological heritage, such as the rainforest of the Congo River Basin, which like the Amazon is crucial to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Africa’s worst climate-related changes in recent decades are not hurricanes, but rather a persistent drought. The near extinction of Lake Chad is a prime example, as are the widening of the Sahel desert belt southward and the increasingly long periods without rain throughout the Maghreb. The population will grow but rainfall will decrease, thus rapidly shrinking the amount of arable land. And temperatures will rise – in a continent where only half of the 1.2 billion residents have access to electricity.

If these trends continue unchecked, much of Africa will ultimately become uninhabitable. In the Lake Chad basin, 5.3 million people (mostly fishermen and farmers) were displaced by climate-related changes. Experts predict that Africa’s glaciers will disappear: those of Mount Kenya by 2030 and those of Mount Kilimanjaro by 2040.

Already, small rural communities in the Maghreb struggle to produce enough to subsist. The same goes for intensive agriculture, which in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, generates up to a fifth of gross domestic product. Even slight disruptions will have exponential effects on those societies.

Riaz Haq said...

Increasing U.S. Aid to Pakistan Is a Strategic and Moral Imperative
By increasing aid to Pakistan, the United States will propel forward its own strategic interests and fulfill humanitarian obligations while simultaneously helping this South Asian nation avert crisis.

Blog Post by Andrew Gordan, Guest Contributor

Pakistan faces a grave and growing crisis. In late summer, historic floods ravaged the South Asian nation, submerging a third of the country under water and displacing millions. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s economy has reached a breaking point and political unrest threatens to throw the nation into further disarray. At the climax of the floods, international media covered the disaster extensively and donor countries—including the United States—rushed in with pledges of assistance. As of November 2022, the United States has delivered $97 million in aid to Pakistan. However, this figure barely registers on the scale of Pakistan’s recovery requirements, estimated at $40 billion. Increasing assistance will not only avert the deepening crisis in Pakistan and fulfill U.S. humanitarian obligations, but will also serve U.S. strategic interests.

The scale of Pakistan’s predicament cannot be understated. Over 1,500 people died and 12,000 were injured in the summer floods. Infrastructure across Pakistan was crippled: thousands of kilometers of road and hundreds of bridges were destroyed, as well as almost two million homes.

Adding pressure in crisis, Pakistan is suffering from high inflation—roughly 26 percent year-on-year in October 2022—and low foreign exchange reserves. As prices for liquified natural gas skyrocket with the war in Ukraine, Pakistan is struggling to secure essential imports. The resumption of International Monetary Fund (IMF) funding in August has done little to plug the gaps. While bilateral creditors have offered debt relief, this is largely confined to allowing the postponement of payments in the short-term and the forgiveness of small amounts of debt.

Political tensions have also added to the challenges in Pakistan, hampering government capacity. After his ouster by a vote of no-confidence in April, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has consolidated his political popularity, challenged the sitting government to hold early elections, and survived an assassination attempt on November 3.

Riaz Haq said...

Blog Post by Andrew Gordan, Guest Contributor

The severity of these converging obstacles underscores the need for adequate U.S. aid to Pakistan. Unfortunately, these days Pakistan has few friends in Washington. Many U.S. observers have accused Pakistan of enabling the Afghan Taliban throughout the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In addition, advocates of the budding U.S.-India relationship worry that engagement with Pakistan might disrupt ties with the Modi administration. Concerns about corruption have also tarnished attempts to build support for more aid.

Despite these concerns, the United States should act to alleviate the crisis in Pakistan. On one hand, if the United States wants to honor its commitments to humanitarianism, aid to Pakistan should be a top moral priority. The Biden administration has pledged to “rally the world to meet our common challenges.” The destructive effects of climate change that Pakistan is suffering today is a common challenge. Furthermore, norms of environmental justice compel countries who built their riches on the degradation of the environment, like the United States, to help Pakistan, one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations and a negligible contributor to historical global emissions.

On the other hand, even American pragmatists should heed Pakistan’s need for aid. Catastrophe in Pakistan is not in the U.S. national interest. A destabilized Pakistan would spell disaster for regional security: a depleted Pakistani government would inevitably give regional militant groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan more breathing room. In addition, a Pakistan in crisis would likely be less capable of performing its role at the center of the new U.S. “over-the-horizon” counter-terrorism strategy. Operations like the recent U.S. killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri require Pakistani support, coordination, and airspace. Finally, as the United States seeks to counterbalance Chinese influence in South Asia, increased aid could capitalize on growing reservations in Pakistan about the tight-knit economic relationship with China.

So how should the United States assist Pakistan? For starters, the overall level of assistance should increase dramatically, as the $97 million pledged thus far will have a minimal impact on Pakistan’s predicament. The United States can help with the flood recovery in other ways: technical teams to support the construction of climate-resilient infrastructure and health supplies to address growing outbreaks of waterborne diseases, for example. The United States can also do more to address Pakistan’s financial health. The recent rollover of the suspension of payments on $132 million in debt was a good start, but the United States must continue to rally international debtors to suspend and restructure Pakistani debt, replenish foreign exchange reserves, and support crucial imports. The future of the South Asian nation, and U.S. regional interests, depend on it.

Riaz Haq said...

White House climate advisor (Karachi-born Ali Zaidi) addresses the unresolved questions (loss and damage fund) left after COP27 : NPR

Riaz Haq said...

India has opposed the developed world's efforts to extend the scope of mitigation to agriculture at the ongoing U.N. climate summit in Egypt, saying rich nations do not want to change their lifestyles to reduce emissions and are "searching for cheaper solutions abroad", sources said on Thursday.

Expressing concern over the draft decision text on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, India said developed countries are blocking a pro-poor and pro-farmer decision by insisting on expanding the scope for mitigation to agriculture, thereby compromising the very foundation of food security in the world, a source in the Indian delegation said.

In most developing countries across the world, agriculture is done by small and marginal farmers who toil hard and brave the vagaries of extreme weather and climate variability as well as the additional stress of climate change.

Riaz Haq said...

#COP27 : Fresh hope for climate talks after #climate "loss and damage" fund offer by rich nations. The devastating #FloodsInPakistan this summer, which killed about 1,700 people, have been a powerful backdrop to talks in #Egypt. #Pakistan #LossAndDamage

A promise from the developed world to foot more of the climate bill has raised fresh hopes of breakthrough at the UN climate summit COP27.

Nations meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, worked late into Thursday night to find agreement over what has been the biggest sticking point.

The European Union has suggested a new fund to help poor nations deal with climate disaster.

Developing nations insist they will push for the best deal on the table.

Vulnerable nations including Pakistan, which leads developing countries here, say richer nations owe this money because they historically released most of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The devastating floods in Pakistan this summer, which killed about 1,700 people, have been a powerful backdrop to talks in Egypt.

But rich nations are worried about signing a blank cheque. At the start of the summit, the US was adamant there would be no new fund, and it has been silent in negotiations, observers say.

In a possible breakthrough on Friday morning, the European Union proposed a special fund that would be funded by a "broad donor base".

That suggests that China, a country which now emits large amounts of greenhouse gases (those gases that warm the atmosphere), could contribute too.

China is usually in the same group as developing nations, and historically contributed little to global warming. But this fund could call on them to help pay the bill.

"It's great to see some leadership finally, but we'll see what we get out of this," Nisha Krishnan from the World Resources Institute told BBC News.

The EU's proposal "comes with strings attached" and it is not supported by all developing nations, says Prof Michael Wilkins at Imperial College Business School in London.

The question of this money, known as loss and damage, has dominated COP27. Nations at severe risk from climate disaster were pleased to get it on the agenda, after 30 years of trying.

The deal is not yet over the line.

Talking about the funding, Ms Krishnan said "this is the biggest thing that could make or break this conversation".

It will be important to see what the US does as well as China, she suggests.

Outside of the negotiation rooms, NGOs and activists continue to call for much stronger promises from COP27 on getting rid of fossil fuels.

Riaz Haq said...

A deal was struck at the #COP27 climate talks to set up a fund that would pay for #climate-related damage in countries deemed particularly vulnerable. #Pakistan #lossanddamage #floods


SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt—A deal was struck at United Nations climate talks on Saturday to set up a fund that would pay for climate-related damage in countries deemed particularly vulnerable, officials said, handing a victory to poorer nations that have pushed for the move for years and removing a major sticking point in broader negotiations to address global warming.

The fund would earmark money for what is known as loss and damage: When rising seas, more powerful storms and other effects that scientists link to climate change cause destruction that is sudden or potentially irreparable.

Negotiators representing developed and developing countries agreed to the measure in the final hours of the COP27 U.N. climate summit held in this Egyptian seaside resort. Officials cautioned that the deal on loss and damage was part of a broader agreement that is still under negotiation. Wealthy nations want stronger commitments from developing countries to cut emissions in the coming decade in hopes of meeting the climate targets of the Paris accord. Those call for governments to limit temperature increases to well under 2 degrees Celsius and preferably 1.5 degrees compared with the preindustrial era.

The fund would be targeted toward poorer countries deemed most vulnerable, delegates said, a key demand from wealthy nations that didn’t want money flowing to China and other higher-income countries that are deemed to be developing under the U.N. climate treaty. As part of the process for creating the fund, countries would identify new sources of financing, officials said. Wealthy countries want China, oil-rich Persian Gulf states and other higher-income countries in the developing world to contribute.

Small island countries and low-lying nations such as Bangladesh have for decades sought money to pay for loss and damage. Wealthy countries, which are responsible for most of the greenhouse-gas emissions that have caused the earth to warm, have long resisted, fearing that agreeing to make payments would leave their governments and companies at risk of lawsuits.

A senior Biden administration official said Saturday’s deal wouldn’t create legal liability.

Heading into the talks, the U.S., Europe and other rich nations said that a new fund wasn’t necessary and that money for loss and damage can flow through existing institutions that provide climate finance for the developing world.


European negotiators asked whether that was the position of AOSIS, whose members are also members of the Group of 77. The Maldives’ environment minister, representing AOSIS, asked for a 30 minute break to discuss the issue with the Group of 77.

Negotiators from the two groups returned to the room saying they were willing to support a fund that would be targeted to particularly vulnerable countries as the EU wanted.

In recent years, the demand for a separate fund became a rallying cry for poorer countries seen as most vulnerable to climate change. Many developing countries have pointed to the scale of monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan this year, which have left the country with losses and rebuilding costs assessed by the government and World Bank at $30 billion, as an example of what vulnerable countries could increasingly contend with. Less than half of Pakistan’s $816 million international emergency appeal has been funded.

Riaz Haq said...

In a First, Rich Countries Agree to Pay for Climate Damages in Poor Nations - The New York Times

“Pakistan, which spearheaded a group of 134 developing nations pushing for loss and damage payments, provided a fresh reminder of the destructive forces of climate change.”

After 30 years of deadlock, a new U.N. climate agreement aims to pay developing countries for loss and damage caused by global warming. But huge questions remain about how it would work.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — Negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed for the first time to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the pollution spewed by wealthy nations that is dangerously heating the planet.

The decision regarding payments for climate damage marked a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed for loss and damage money, asking rich, industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts fueled by global warming.

But the United States and other wealthy countries have long blocked the idea, for fear that they could be held legally liable for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.

The agreement hammered out in this Red Sea resort town says nations cannot be held legally liable for payments. The deal calls for a committee with representatives from 24 countries to work over the next year to figure out exactly what form the fund should take, which countries should contribute and where the money should go. Many of the other details are still to be determined.

The creation of the a loss and damage fund was almost derailed by disputes that ran into the dawn hours of Sunday over other elements of a broader agreement, including how deeply countries should cut their emissions and whether to include language that explicitly called for a phaseout of fossil fuels, including coal, natural gas and oil. By 5 a.m. in Egypt, negotiators were still debating those other measures.

Developing nations — largely from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and South Pacific — fought first to place the loss and damage fund on the formal agenda of the two-week summit. And then they were relentless in their pressure campaign, arguing that it was a matter of justice, noting they did little to contribute to a crisis that threatens their existence. They made it clear that a summit held on the African continent that ended without addressing loss and damage would be seen as a moral failure.

“The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress,” said Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change. “And gives some credibility to the COP process.”

Pakistan, which spearheaded a group of 134 developing nations pushing for loss and damage payments, provided a fresh reminder of the destructive forces of climate change. Over the summer, Pakistan suffered devastating flooding that scientists say was made worse by global warming, resulting in more than 1,500 deaths, plunging one-third of the country underwater and causing $30 billion in damages, even as Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s planet-warming emissions.

As the summit was nearing an end, the European Union consented to the idea of a loss and damage fund, though it insisted that any aid should be focused on the most vulnerable nations, and that aid might include a wide variety of options such as new insurance programs in addition to direct payments.

Riaz Haq said...

‘We couldn’t fail them’: #Pakistan brought that resolve to negotiations at #COP27 &, as president of the #G77 plus #China negotiating bloc, succeeded in keeping developing countries united on #lossAnddamage, despite rich nations' strong opposition. #Floods

With the deadly devastation fresh in the world’s mind, Pakistan pushed for damage funds with other frontline countries

Nina Lakhani

In early September, after unprecedented rainfall had left a third of Pakistan under water, its climate change minister set out the country’s stall for Cop27. “We are on the frontline and intend to keep loss and damage and adapting to climate catastrophes at the core of our arguments and negotiations. There will be no moving away from that,” Sherry Rehman said.

Pakistan brought that resolve to the negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh and, as president of the G77 plus China negotiating bloc, succeeded in keeping developing countries united on loss and damage – despite efforts by some rich countries to divide them. Its chief negotiator, Nabeel Munir, a career diplomat, was backed by a team of savvy veteran negotiators who had witnessed the devastation and suffering from the floods, which caused $30bn (£25bn) of damage and economic losses. Every day, Munir repeated the same message: “Loss and damage is not charity, it’s about climate justice.”

It was the first time the G77, which includes a diverse range of countries with an array of climate, economic and security challenges, had shown such unity since 2009, when they rejected the Copenhagen accord at Cop15, according to Asad Rehman, of the UK charity War on Want. “Without the leadership of Pakistan, we wouldn’t have the outcome,” he said. “Their diplomats are experienced in maintaining G77 discipline and unity, and prevented attempts by the EU and others to turn the least developed countries group and the Alliance of Small Island States against the other countries and accept a narrow fund.”

Meena Raman, the director of Third World Network and an expert on the UN climate summits, agreed: “We saw attempts to split the G77, with overtures made by the rich countries to the vulnerable 20, in an effort to put pressure on countries like China and India to contribute to the fund. We have seen such divide-and-control efforts time and time again. But when the G77 remains strong, we get good outcomes; if they are divided, developing countries lose.”

Despite the multitude of disappointments at Cop27, failing on loss and damage was not an option, according to Munir. “Our resolve came from seeing the victims of the catastrophic floods that we faced,” he said. “The thought that it might not happen came many times, but the whole country – and developing world – was watching us and we couldn’t fail them.”

But Pakistani officials cannot take all the credit. Zaheer Fakir, a South African negotiator, singled out the Egyptian diplomat Mohamed Nasr for getting loss and damage over the line. “He was doing the consultations with all the groups [parties] and fixing the cover [final] decision,” he said.

Fakir cautioned against premature celebrations. “It’s not really a victory yet. All that was decided has been the establishment of funding arrangements and the fund … [There are] no specific contributions or notion on size, which will need to be unpacked.”

Civil society pressure was critical in building and unifying momentum around loss and damage since Cop26 in Glasgow, as part of the growing campaign for climate justice.

Despite Egypt’s best efforts to silence dissent, small but powerful protests demanding climate justice took place almost every day inside the negotiating zone, and the world’s media broadcast activists and experts calling out the US, UK, EU and other world leaders.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Flood Recovery Plan Key to Continued Financial Support -IMF

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's timely finalisation of a recovery plan from devastating floods is essential to support discussions and continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

Pakistan was already battling a full-blown economic crisis, with decades-high inflation and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, when it was hit by floods earlier this year. It had entered a $6 billion IMF bailout programme in 2019, and the ninth review is currently pending.

"The timely finalization of the recovery plan is essential to support the discussions, along with continuing financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners," IMF resident representative Esther Perez Ruiz said in a message to Reuters.

She added that IMF staff is continuing discussions with Pakistani authorities over policies to reprioritize and better target support toward humanitarian needs, while accelerating reform efforts to preserve economic and fiscal sustainability.

Devastating floods killed more than 1,700 people and inflicted billions of dollars of damage. Pakistani authorities' estimates of the damage have varied from $10 billion to $40 billion.

Pakistan's finance ministry said last week that it would "expeditiously" finish technical engagement with the IMF as part of the ninth review of the programme, but a firm date for the review completion is yet to be announced.

The funds will be a lifeline for the South Asian nation, which is struggling to convince international markets and ratings agencies that it has the funds to meet external financing requirements, including debt repayments.

Pakistan has a $1 billion international bond repayment due early next month. Its total foreign reserves with the central bank stood at $7.9 billion as of last week.

(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by William Maclean and Leslie Adler)