Monday, January 9, 2023

Climate "Loss and Damage": Pakistan Gets Flood Aid Pledges of $10 Billion

Pakistan has received pledges of $10 billion worth of loans and grants to rebuild after devastating floods last year, according to Bloomberg News. The amount pledged exceeds the $8 billion that Pakistan sought at the United Nations Donors Conference that concluded today in Geneva, Switzerland. The massive floods affected 33 million people living on vast swathes of land in rural Sindh and Balochistan. The flood waters killed an estimated 1700 people and  millions of animals. The floods also washed away millions of acres of standing crops, tens of thousands of homes and thousands of kilometers of roads. The total flood damage is estimated at $33 billion in economic losses, and cost of rebuilding is estimated at $16.5 billion. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attended in-person, while world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took part virtually. 

UN Donors Conference For Pakistan Flood Aid in Geneva, Switzerland. Source: Reuters

UN Secretary General  António Guterres has passionately advocated for immediate help for the people in Pakistan affected by the severe floods resulting from climate change.  “We need to be honest about the brutal injustice of loss and damage suffered by developing countries because of climate change,” he told the gathering in Geneva. “If there is any doubt about loss and damage – go to Pakistan. There is loss. There is damage. The devastation of climate change is real.” Mr. Guterres added that people in South Asia are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts than elsewhere, and his “heart broke” when he saw the devastation left behind from Pakistan’s floods. “No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan,” he said. “But it was especially bitter to watch that country’s generous spirit being repaid with a climate disaster of monumental scale.”  

After receiving the pledges, Prime Minister Sharif assured all donors and lenders that "every penny will be used in a transparent fashion. He said his government has prepared a comprehensive “4RF” framework, to strive for “recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and resilience”. 

Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank pledged $4.2 billion accounting for the largest share of the total amount of $10 billion. The World Bank pledged $2 billion, Asian Development Bank $1.5 billion, France $345 million, China $100 million, US $100 million, European Union $93 million, Germany $88 million and Japan $77 million. 

At COP27, the United Nations climate summit, Pakistan led the fight for funding to compensate nations for “loss and damage”. Pakistan had the support of 134 developing nations. Earlier at COP26 in Scotland, discussions 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 first 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. In 2021, 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. Pakistan finally succeeded in acceptance of "loss and damage" at COP27 conference in 2022. The UN-sponsored Pakistan Donors Conference in Geneva this year is an important milestone and a good start toward practically helping the victims of climate change in developing nations.   


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Flood Damages and Economic Losses Over USD 30 billion and Reconstruction Needs Over USD 16 billion - New Assessment

Post-Disaster Needs Assessment calls for urgent support to implement a Recovery and Reconstruction that ‘Builds Back Better’

ISLAMABAD, October 28, 2022- A damage, loss, and needs assessment following the unprecedented floods in Pakistan calls for ‘building back better’, based on the principles of the poor first, transparency, inclusion, and climate resilience. The assessment estimates total damages to exceed USD 14.9 billion, and total economic losses to reach about USD 15.2 billion. Estimated needs for rehabilitation and reconstruction in a resilient way are at least USD 16.3 billion, not including much needed new investments beyond the affected assets, to support Pakistan’s adaptation to climate change and overall resilience of the country to future climate shocks.

Housing; Agriculture and Livestock; and Transport and Communications sectors suffered the most significant damage, at USD 5.6 billion, USD 3.7 billion, and USD 3.3 billion, respectively. Sindh is the worst affected province with close to 70 percent of total damages and losses, followed by Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives led the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), which was conducted jointly with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Union (EU), the United Nations agencies with technical facilitation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank. The PDNA, in addition to estimating damages, economic losses and recovery and reconstruction needs, also assesses broader macro-economic and human impacts and recommends principles along which to develop a comprehensive recovery and reconstruction framework.

The floods affected 33 million people and more than 1730 lost their lives. They are particularly impacting the poorest and most vulnerable districts. The situation is still evolving, with flood waters stagnant in many areas, causing water-borne and vector-borne diseases to spread, and more than 8 million displaced people now facing a health crisis. The crisis thus risks having profound and lasting impacts on lives and livelihoods. Loss of household incomes, assets, rising food prices, and disease outbreaks are impacting the most vulnerable groups. Women have suffered notable losses of their livelihoods, particularly those associated with agriculture and livestock.

The PDNA Human Impact Assessment highlights that the national poverty rate may increase by 3.7 to 4.0 percentage points, potentially pushing between 8.4 and 9.1 million more people below the poverty line.

Multidimensional poverty can potentially increase by 5.9 percentage points, implying that an additional 1.9 million households are at risk of being pushed into non-monetary poverty.

Compounding the existing economic difficulties facing the country, the 2022 floods are expected to have a significant adverse impact on output, which will vary substantially by region and sector. Loss in gross domestic product (GDP) as a direct impact of the floods is projected to be around 2.2 percent of FY22 GDP. The agriculture sector is projected to contract the most, at 0.9 percent of GDP. The damage and losses in agriculture will have spillover effects on the industry, external trade and services sectors.

Riaz Haq said...

Post-Disaster Needs Assessment calls for urgent support to implement a Recovery and Reconstruction that ‘Builds Back Better’

The Government is providing immediate relief to the impacted communities and supporting the early recovery, while aiming to ensure macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability. Moving forward, as recovery and reconstruction spending rises, the loss in output could be mitigated. Yet, significant international support will be needed to complement Pakistan’s own commitment to increase domestic revenue mobilization and save scarce public resources, and to reduce the risk of exacerbating macroeconomic imbalances.

Although the early loss and damage estimates may increase as the situation is continuously evolving on the ground, the PDNA lays the groundwork for an agenda for recovery and reconstruction that is designed to build back a better future for the most affected people in Pakistan. While the recovery will require massive efforts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, buildings and livelihoods, it will also be an opportunity to strengthen institutions and governance structures.

The report puts forth recommendations for developing a comprehensive recovery framework. While the primary focus will be on the affected areas, such framework presents an opportunity to embed systemic resilience to natural hazards and climate change in Pakistan’s overall development planning. This tragic disaster can be a turning point, where climate resilience and adaptation, increased domestic revenue mobilization and better public spending, and public policies and investments better targeted to the most vulnerable populations; all figure at the core of policy making going forward.

In the short term, targeted mechanisms such as social assistance and emergency cash transfers, provision of emergency health services, and programs to restore shelter and restart local economic activities, particularly in agriculture, should be prioritized. Reconstruction and rehabilitation should rest on key principles of: participatory, transparent, inclusive, and green recovery for long-term resilience—“building back better”; pro-poor, pro-vulnerable, and gender sensitive, targeting the most affected; strong coordination of government tiers and implementation by the lowest appropriate level; synergies between humanitarian effort and recovery; and a sustainable financing plan.

Given Pakistan’s limited fiscal resources, significant international support and private investment will be essential for a comprehensive and resilient recovery. The Pakistani authorities are committed to accelerate reforms to generate additional domestic fiscal resources and improve efficiency and targeting of public spending. Beyond the immediate needs of floods reconstruction, these reforms, while protecting the most vulnerable, will be important to generate fiscal space to invest more broadly into more climate-resilient infrastructure and adaptation to climate change, as well as to build buffers to face future shocks, while addressing macroeconomic imbalances. This commitment of the Government will also be key to mobilize further international support as well as to unlock private sector sources of financing—both of which will be absolutely critical to face the current climate change-induced shock.

The ADB, the EU, the UNDP and the World Bank are fully committed to working with the Government and people of Pakistan during the ensuing recovery phase, and to increase the country’s climate resilience.

Riaz Haq said...

Banks and countries pledge over $9bn to rebuild Pakistan after catastrophic floods

International funders join Pakistan PM and UN secretary general in Geneva to agree recovery plan following ‘monsoon on steroids’

The international community has promised more than $9bn (£7.4bn) to help Pakistan rebuild after last summer’s catastrophic floods, described by UN secretary general António Guterres as a “monsoon on steroids.”

The pledges were made on Monday at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by Pakistan’s prime minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Guterres.

Sharif has said Pakistan needs a minimum of $16.3bn over the next three years to begin recovery and reconstruction, half of which will be met by domestic resources.

The largest commitment on Monday – $4.2bn – came from the Islamic Development Bank Group. World Bank vice-president for South Asia, Martin Raiser, announced a $2bn contribution. Other contributors included the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Saudi Arabia, the EU, Japan and China.

Heavy rains which started in June last year and continued until August caused Pakistan’s worst ever flooding, submerging one-third of the country. More than 4 million acres of agricultural land were inundated, resulting in a food crisis and huge financial losses.

The disaster affected at least 33 million people, killing more than 17,000 and leaving 8 million homeless.

Women and children were particularly badly affected. According to Unicef, up to 4 million children are still living near contaminated and stagnant flood waters. The number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in flood-affected areas nearly doubled between July and December 2022, compared with the same period in 2021, the charity reported on Monday. It also said that the number of acute respiratory infections among children has soared in flood-stricken areas.

On Monday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that it was seeing alarming health issues in flood-hit areas, with malaria positivity rates running at 50% in Sindh and eastern Balochistan in December, despite the colder season, when malaria infections would be expected to decline.

“We are still in an emergency phase,” said Edward Taylor, MSF’s emergency coordinator in northern Sindh and eastern Balochistan.

Speaking at Monday’s conference, Sharif said the world was standing at a “turning point of history”, adding: “It’s not only a question of how to survive … it’s how to maintain our dignity and honour – by moving forward with a sense of purpose and a sense of achievement.”

Guterres called for help to rebuild Pakistan, declaring: “No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan.”

He told the conference that Pakistan is doubly victimised by climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system. “Above all, we need to be honest about the brutal injustice of loss and damage suffered by developing countries because of climate change. If there is any doubt about loss and damage – go to Pakistan.”

Pakistan was hit by the floods at a time while already experiencing an economic crisis, and continues to face financial challenges, resulting in record-level inflation.

Sharif said his government has prepared a comprehensive “4RF” framework, to strive for “recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and resilience”. “I want to make this statement categorically. Every penny will be used in a transparent fashion. I have put in place a third-party validation mechanism that every penny is accounted for and invested in the interests of needy people who have been badly affected by these ferocious floods,” he said.

Shams N. said...

Pledges are dime a dozen. I seriously doubt these pledges will turn into actual dollars for Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "Pledges are dime a dozen. I seriously doubt these pledges will turn into actual dollars for Pakistan"

I think pledges given by international financial institutions (IDB, World Bank, ADB) and nations (China, US, France, Germany etc) with requisite funds do represent a high probability of turning into actual contributions.

Riaz Haq said...

Michael Kugelman
A major feat for Pakistan, in an era of economic strain and donor fatigue, to secure $10B in pledges for flood relief.
But it’ll take time to get these pledges finalized and delivered. With 25M in desperate need of food & health aid, the govt can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

Riaz Haq said...

Saudi Arabia is considering providing up to $11 billion to #Pakistan, a potential lifeline to a country facing default. #Qatar and #UAE are likely to join #SaudiArabia for up to $22 billion package of #loans and #investments for the country.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it was considering providing up to $11 billion to Pakistan, a potential lifeline to a country facing default.

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar in recent months have said they might also offer help to Pakistan, with potential loans and investments from Gulf nations now totaling at least $22 billion after the latest announcement from Riyadh. Gulf countries have said they could extend a similar level of support to Egypt, which is also struggling economically.

The support from Saudi Arabia could strengthen Pakistan’s hand in negotiating a restart to a stalled bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Islamabad has so far been unwilling to agree to the IMF’s terms for a deal, which include raising electricity and gasoline prices and increasing taxes.

The country’s foreign-currency reserves are fast running out, with financial markets hoping that the IMF program can be put back on track within days.

Pakistan has only around $4.5 billion in official foreign-currency reserves, financial analysts estimate. In January and February this year it is due to repay debt of $6.4 billion, according to figures from the central bank. By December, it must repay a further $12.8 billion, according to the central bank.

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it would study increasing its investment plans for Pakistan to $10 billion from $1 billion and would also study raising its loan deposit with Pakistan’s central bank to $5 billion from the current $3 billion, “confirming the Kingdom’s position supportive to the economy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its sisterly people.”

The news followed a visit by Pakistan’s new army chief, Gen. Asim Munir, to Saudi Arabia, where he met Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. In the meeting, “they reviewed bilateral relations and the ways of enhancing them,” Riyadh said Monday.

Pakistan is a close partner to Saudi Arabia, including providing soldiers for guarding sites and training Saudi troops. Millions of Pakistanis work in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan has also drawn in recent months on its other close allies, in the Gulf and China, as it struggles to repay loans taken out over the last decade.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit the U.A.E. later this week, and Islamabad hopes his hosts will roll over a $2 billion loan due to mature shortly and provide additional financing. The U.A.E. pledged last year to invest around $2 billion in Pakistan. Qatar has said it would invest $3 billion in Pakistan.

None of the Gulf nations’ investment plans, mostly likely to involve the purchase of state-owned enterprises, have so far materialized. Saudi Arabia has also floated the idea of building a large oil refinery in Pakistan.

China has provided a $4 billion loan deposit with Pakistan’s central bank. Around a third of Pakistan’s debt is held by Beijing. In recent years, Beijing has carried out a multibillion-dollar infrastructure-building program in the country, a showcase for its global Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to spread Chinese influence through large construction projects.

There are few ready investment opportunities in Pakistan for Gulf nations, while its cash needs are immediate, said Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, a local financing group. Despite the Saudi announcement, Pakistan still needs the IMF, he said.

“There is a liquidity crunch,” said Mr. Tariq. “We need the money right away.”

Riaz Haq said...

ZAKARIA: A new year means a fresh start, right? Well, that can be true for you and me with resolutions and the like, but not for global politics. For starters, the war in Ukraine hasn't stopped, indeed it's been heating up. And the threat of China invading Taiwan didn't disappear when the clock struck 12:00 on the 31st. So what are the biggest risks of 2023?

BREMMER: And yet it's not where the population actually is. The United States' population, like Canada, like Europe, like Japan, is a bell curve, right? We see that on issues like abortion.

Most Americans don't want abortion always to be legal in every case, and they don't want it to always be illegal and banned in every case. They want it to be safe and rare and legal. And 13, 15 weeks is where you kind of hit, right? And we've seen 50 years as a compromise it allowed that. And unfortunately, the politics moved in a much more extreme direction.

Social media and algorithmic alignment is basically taking the smallest portions of the population making them the loudest, making them the most profitable, making them move politics. And the United States is not principally at risk from this. It's the weaker, more brittle democracies that are in the most danger.

ZAKARIA: You talk about an energy crunch. Help us understand what is going to -- what is the world of energy going to look like with all the problems that we have, the Russia/Ukraine war, all the rest of it?

BREMMER: Two big issues in 2023. The first is the fact that the Europeans are fundamentally decoupled from Russia, especially when it comes to gas. It means that their input costs are structurally so much higher for the foreseeable future, from the United States, from the western hemisphere and from much of Asia.

And what that means is de-industrialization. A lot of their corporations are just going to leave and they're not going to come back. It's a real negative impact on Europe.

Second, the Europeans at least have the money when things get ugly to pay for the inputs to ensure that their middle classes, their working classes are taken care of. The developing world does not. So, if you're not a commodity exporter in the developing world, you're going to face a serious fiscal crunch, lots more social instability, maybe emerging market financial crisis.


ZAKARIA: I want to end on that point. You talk about arrested global development. This is something that strikes me. You know, we have spent the last few years talking about, oh, you know, we overdid globalization, we overdid, you know, market reforms.

The problem is, the only way to grow, the only way to raise incomes is by embracing markets and trade and all that. And all of these developments, the populist wave that has shutdown a lot of that, and brought tariff barriers up, you can see the data. It's the poorest people in the poorest countries of the world who are struggling. BREMMER: And particularly the women in the poorest part of the world. And through the pandemic and through the Russian invasion, and through the populist backlash, you now have all these structural realities that mean that poorest countries in the world cannot take care of their poor.

And so, instead of every year moving more people out of poverty as we have for decades we are now seeing the world move more people into poverty, move them out of the schools, move them into the informal economy, increasingly even moving them into sexual trafficking, for example, human trafficking, forced marriage. Nobody wants to see a world that looks like it's anti-progress. And yet for a majority of the world's 8 billion in 2023, progress is not for them.

Riaz Haq said...

ZAKARIA: 2022 was a rocky year for the economy. Growth slowed, inflation ran rampant, and the stock market plummeted. What will the economy look like in 2023? Investor and writer Ruchir Sharma has a new piece in the "Financial Times" laying out some big shifts he expects to see this year and beyond. Ruchir, welcome.

ZAKARIA: And the best example of this is, of course, Liz Truss in Britain, right?

SHARMA: Yes. That's the best example and the most prominent example. And then you have lots of other countries now all of a sudden facing the prospect of default. So many countries in Africa, even in places such as Pakistan, Egypt, all these are struggling just now. And the political leaders in all these countries are now being forced to bow to the markets and do what the markets are telling them, which is that you have got to have fiscal rectitude, you've got to have monetary orthodoxy, or you end up becoming a Turkey and Argentina that's kicked off the grid and loses complete access to funding and markets and become economic basket cases.

ZAKARIA: It reminds of when Clinton came to power, that whole White House, 1992, was terrified about the bond market. You know, James Carville used to joke, when I get reincarnated, I want to come back as the bond market because the bond market scares the hell out of everyone.

Well, for 30 years people forgot about the bond market. And now the bond market is really back, except in one country. I want to ask you about the United States, where we seem to think because of the dollar, we can print as much money as we want. But you say we may be at peak dollar.

SHARMA: Yes. I think, there's a lot of hubris on that. But even if you look at America it clearly made a mistake in the amount of stimulus that they put to work. We are seeing the consequences of that. Still relatively high inflation, even though it's coming off, and all this monetary tightening. And look at the stock market, very tough year in 2022.

So I think that there are consequences of this which even America is facing. But yes, there is still hubris but because of the reserved currency we can get away with it. And my warning is, don't be so confident, that we have seen what happened in the U.K., we have seen, you know, what has happened in so many other countries. The markets really get in a punishing mood, their sentiment can turn very abruptly.

The dollar has had incredible value over the last few years, but I think the seeds are now being sown for why the demise of the dollar may have begun. The dollar has peaked against most major currencies. And also, Fareed, this very important geopolitical point, which is the fact that even though America used sanctions, and you can argue if it was morally correct to use those sanctions against Russia, but the way it used the sanctions by weaponizing the dollar, that I think will have long-term consequences. There are so many countries around the world now which are thinking that they could also -- even though it may be an irrational fear, that fear has crept in, that maybe even they could face such an event. And so --

ZAKARIA: And the only solution is get out of dollars.

SHARMA: Exactly. In terms trying trade directly in your own currency.

Zulfi B said...

Congratulation to the whole team and Pakistan army for pledges in time of need.. Hope we can soon get more pledges to revive the economy ...

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank Cuts 2023 Global Growth Projection as Inflation Persists
China and Ukraine inject uncertainty into world economy

The forecast growth rate only narrowly keeps the global economy out of recession territory. The international development organization cited a coalescence of high inflation, rising interest rates, lower investment and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as threats to growth, along with pandemic-related disruptions in China and stress in its real-estate sector.

“Global growth has slowed to the extent that the global economy is perilously close to falling into recession,” the World Bank said in its latest report on global economic prospects. World Bank President David Malpass told reporters Tuesday he is “deeply concerned that the slowdown may persist.”


“Inflation won’t quite go down the way people expected,” Mr. Dimon said. “But it will definitely be coming down a bit.”

Some economists have projected that both the U.S. and parts of Europe could slip into a recession for a portion of 2023. A global recession, defined as a contraction in annual global per capita income, is more rare because China and emerging markets often grow faster than more developed economies. Essentially the world economy is considered to be in recession if economic growth falls behind population growth.

For all of 2023, the World Bank forecasts U.S. gross domestic product will increase 0.5% from the prior year, and expects no growth for the eurozone. The bank predicts China’s GDP will increase 4.3% in 2023 from the prior year, an uptick from an estimate of 2.7% growth last year. Emerging market and developing economies are projected to expand 3.4%, a steady rate of growth from 2022’s expansion.

Russian GDP is forecast to contract 3.3% after falling 3.5% in 2022, as sanctions continue to weigh on spending and investment, the bank said.

Elevated inflation is keeping pressure on global central banks to tighten monetary policy, which subsequently slows investment and the broader economy.

The World Bank called on global central banks to remain alert to the risk that aggressively tightening monetary policy to fight inflation could spill across borders. The new report called for discussions between central bankers to “help mitigate risks associated with financial stability and avoid an excessive global economic slowdown in the pursuit of inflation objectives.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, speaking in Stockholm Tuesday, reiterated the central bank’s commitment to bringing down inflation, even though he said interest-rate increases could fuel political blowback.

“Price stability is the bedrock of a healthy economy and provides the public with immeasurable benefits over time,” Mr. Powell said. “But restoring price stability when inflation is high can require measures that are not popular in the short term as we raise interest rates to slow the economy.”

Central banks rapidly raised interest rates last year to combat high inflation, and are expected to fine-tune their approach this year as rates reach levels that are likely to weigh on economic growth. In the U.S., the labor market remained strong through 2022’s end, suggesting the Federal Reserve rapid rate rises haven’t yet significantly cooled demand.


The World Bank has previously said that developing countries have amassed high levels of debt that could be difficult to repay as the global economy slows and interest rates rise.

“Further adverse shocks could push the global economy into yet another recession,” the report said, adding that “small states are especially vulnerable to such shocks because of the reliance on external trade and financing, limited economic diversification, elevated debt, and susceptibility to natural disasters.”

Riaz Haq said...

Bilal I Gilani
(Pakistan) Ministry of Finance has created this proxy indicator for growth of economy that they update every month ( given GDP can't be calculated every month )

The MEI growth rate topped just before VONC

Since then it's fallen and last month it was negative meaning GDP contracted

December 2022


Most of the high frequency indicators
showing the signs of lower growth since
the start of the current FY as the
economic situation is faced with severe
headwinds both at global and domestic
ends. These are reflected in the MEI
which continues to remain on a lower
path of economic expansion. However,
the Government is taking all possible
measures to counter the downside risks
and supporting the incomes of the most
needed as well as crucial sectors of the
economy. As a result, contraction or
recession as of yet been avoided.


During January-November 2022 Bureau
of Emigration and Overseas Employment
has registered 762,767 emigrants and
71055 emigrants during November, 2022
for overseas employment in different
According to WHO, cases of malaria,
cholera, acute watery diarrheal diseases,
and dengue fever are declining in most of
the flood-affected districts. Overall,
malaria cases have reduced to around
50,000 from over 100,000 confirmed
cases in early October. Malaria cases
have declined by 25% in Balochistan, 58%
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 67% in
Sindh provinces. However, high malaria
and cholera cases are still being reported
in some pocket districts in Sindh and
Balochistan where standing water
remains. In November 2022, around 70
suspected cases of Diphtheria were
reported from the flood-affected
provinces of KP, Sindh, and Punjab.
There are about 1.6 million children with
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across
all the flood-affected districts who need
treatment with Ready to Use Therapeutic
Food (RUTF). About 400,000 of these
children are in the 34 Government High
Priority Districts (GHPD). Bridging the
nutrition budget gap for an aggressive
sector-wide response is therefore very
critical. (OCHA, Flood situation report on
Pakistan, December, 06, 2022).

Riaz Haq said...

UAE pledges $3bn loan to help cash-strapped ally Pakistan
The existing loan of $2bn will be topped with an additional loan of $1bn

The United Arab Emirates is pledging a $1bn loan to cash-strapped Pakistan and also agreed to roll over an existing loan of $2bn in a boost to the South Asian nation grappling with an economic crisis, according to Pakistan prime minister’s office.

The announcement came after Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held talks with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the capital Abu Dhabi on Thursday on his third visit to the Gulf country after taking office last April.

The two leaders “agreed to deepen the investment cooperation, stimulate partnerships and enable investment integration opportunities between the two countries,” a PMO statement said.

Sharif has been struggling to put the economy on track since taking office, with his first finance minister Miftah Ismail resigning abruptly last September.

Islamabad is seeking financial aid from its close allies such as Saudi Arabia and China, besides the UAE as it negotiates for the next tranche of loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ismail told Al Jazeera that the decision to roll over the fund is “great news to Pakistan”, and the announcement was seen by some analysts as a much-needed relief to the country which has seen its central bank’s foreign reserves deplete to less than $4.5bn, covering less than a month of imports.

Ammar Habib Khan, an Islamabad-based economist, said that the additional funding would provide timely support to Pakistan’s precarious economy.

On Wednesday, the World Bank slashed the gross domestic product (GDP) growth projections to 2 percent. The dire economic situation has forced the government to resort to extreme steps, such as closing malls and restaurants early.

“This funding will provide some support to Pakistan to manage its imports. However, to get out of the crisis, it does need more injection of dollars, necessitating continuation of the International Monetary Fund programme,” he told Al Jazeera.

Pakistan has struggled to convince the IMF to release the next tranche of $1.1bn loans, which has been pending since September on account of deadlock between the two parties.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Five major issues to watch in 2023
Madiha Afzal

Politics will likely consume much of Pakistan’s time and attention in 2023, as it did in 2022. The country’s turn to political instability last spring did not end with a dramatic no-confidence vote in parliament last April that ousted then Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan from office. Instability and polarization have only heightened since then: Khan has led a popular opposition movement against the incumbent coalition government and the military, staging a series of large rallies across the country through the year.

Pakistan’s economy has been in crisis for months, predating the summer’s catastrophic floods. Inflation is backbreaking, the rupee’s value has fallen sharply, and its foreign reserves have now dropped to the precariously low level of $4.3 billion, enough to cover only one month’s worth of imports, raising the possibility of default.

A “monsoon on steroids” – directly linked to climate change – caused a summer of flooding in Pakistan so catastrophic that it has repeatedly been described as biblical. It left a third of the country under water – submerging entire villages – killed more than 1,700, destroyed homes, infrastructure, and vast cropland, and left millions displaced.

The Pakistani Taliban (or TTP), the terrorist group responsible for killing tens of thousands of Pakistanis from 2007 to 2014, have been emboldened – predictably so – by a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and once again pose a threat to Pakistan, albeit in a geographically limited region (for now). The group engaged in at least 150 attacks in Pakistan last year, mostly in the northwest. Because the TTP have sanctuary in Afghanistan, the Pakistani state increasingly finds itself out of options when it comes to dealing effectively with the group. The state’s negotiations with the TTP have failed repeatedly, as they are bound to, because the group is fundamentally opposed to the notion of the Pakistani state and constitution as it exists today. The Afghan Taliban have, unsurprisingly, also not proved to be of help in dealing with the TTP – and Pakistan’s relations with the Afghan Taliban have deteriorated significantly at the same time over other issues, including the border dividing the two countries.

Pakistan has a new chief of army staff as of November 29 last year. General Asim Munir replaced General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who had held the all-powerful post for six years (due to a three-year extension). The appointment of the army chief was a subject of considerable political contention last year; a major part of the reason Khan was ousted from power was his falling out with the military on questions over the appointments of top army officials.

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Pakistan’s productivity growth averaged 1.5pc in 2010s: study

The study — titled Sectoral Total Factor Productivity in Pakistan and conducted by the planning ministry and the think tank Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) — says that the growth of productivity is a crucial determinant of an economy’s growth that has to be pushed higher to over 3pc.


Significantly low to achieve required GDP growth of 7-8pc
• High-productivity growth sectors mostly based on services or technology


The services sector could also be more productive because of digitisation. Similarly, flexibility in technology adoption could be another factor. It is often observed that Pakistani firms in the manufacturing sector are primarily family-owned and managed, and are in general averse to modern management practices, a factor that inhibits productivity growth, the study says.


Dividing the 61 sectors into three categories — i.e., high TFP growth (above 3pc), medium to low TFP growth (between 0pc and 2.9pc), and negative TFP growth (below 0pc) — the study found that most sectors with high TFP growth are either related to services or tech.

Most sectors in the medium to low TFP growth category are in manufacturing. Two export-designated sectors, i.e. sports goods and textile composite, also feature in medium to low-growth sectors.

Most negative growth sectors are also in the manufacturing category, which captures three export-designated sectors (textile spinning, textile weaving, and leather and tanneries) amongst other salient industries such as fertiliser and automobiles.

The analysis also precipitates a trend between sectors that receive subsidies and medium to low TFP growth or negative TFP growth categories. Similarly, the export share of each of these sectors, barring the textile sector, in global exports is less than 1pc in their respective category.

According to the analysis, services have higher TFP growth on average than manufacturing. One plausible reason for this could be greater competition in services. Besides, the manufacturing sector is protected in Pakistan, which insulates them from the competition by retarding any incentive to improve efficiency.

The services sector could also be more productive because of digitisation. Similarly, flexibility in technology adoption could be another factor. It is often observed that Pakistani firms in the manufacturing sector are primarily family-owned and managed, and are in general averse to modern management practices, a factor that inhibits productivity growth, the study says.

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Pakistanis build climate-resilient homes in aftermath of devastating floods | PBS NewsHour

For mass shelter projects, she (Yasmeen Lari) found a game-changing substitute in lime, an abundant mineral that, mixed with traditional mud, becomes stable and water-resistant, she says.


Pakistan is struggling to recover from last year’s cataclysmic flooding that killed more than 1,700. It was the latest in a string of weather-related disasters the country has faced over the past two decades, prompting calls to make hard-hit communities more resilient as they rebuild. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from the flood-ravaged Sindh province, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

On a recent morning here in rural Sindh Province, workers, including residents of Pano (ph), a model village, were building bamboo frames for construction.

The need for durable shelter is overwhelming in a country still grappling with an enormous rebuilding effort. Last year's unrelenting rains wiped away hundreds of thousands of mud huts across rural areas. Standing water still covers acres of land once home to villages of mostly sharecroppers and farm laborers.

The village of Pano and 12 others are the brainchild of globally acclaimed architect Yasmeen Lari, the first female to qualify as an architect in Pakistan; 82-year-old Lari has won several awards in a career that focused at first on designing modern buildings, like the Finance and Trade Center in Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi.

Yasmeen Lari, Architect:

You must about the architect that we're all trained to control everything, nothing should be different from what we have decided, what we design.

And here was a different way of working altogether, where you have to lose your ego.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

In retirement, she found her calling at the intersection of architecture and social justice, she says, beginning with the devastating 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, where she planned to spend three months doing relief work.

Yasmeen Lari:

While it didn't quite work out that way. I found there was plenty to do there.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

Her focus shifted with the urgent need for structures that can be built quickly and sustainably in a country slammed in recent years by extreme climate events, moving away from concrete and steel, and using more local low-carbon and low-cost materials.

Yasmeen Lari:

When I was a practicing architect, I built some huge, monster buildings with a lot of concrete and steel.

And I found that 40 percent of carbon emissions are because of the conventional construction.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

Among her signature projects is this pedestrian-only street in the heart of Karachi, emphasizing green space and terra-cotta tile, which drain rainwater much faster than the usual concrete.

Yasmeen Lari:

Concrete is the worst thing, because everything becomes totally impervious.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

For mass shelter projects, she found a game-changing substitute in lime, an abundant mineral that, mixed with traditional mud, becomes stable and water-resistant, she says.

Yasmeen Lari:

I found it was an absolutely miracle material, because it stabilized the earth completely and could last for years if you submerge it in water. And we have tested that.

Fred de Sam Lazaro:

Lari's structures incorporate climate-smart design and materials with traditional ones. The key is to build on higher ground, add a short platform for additional protection from floodwaters, and use a sloped, thatched roof.

Yasmeen Lari:

It's made out of eight prefab panels. And then it has a structure, a roof which is like an umbrella. So, there's a huge amount of air movement. So it's very comfortable inside.

My own dream is really that if I could just save people from displacement, if they could be just these structures which will make sure that people can stay in them.

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Analysis: Why a financially stable Pakistan is in US interest

IN recent weeks and months, the US has made no secret of the fact that it is closely monitoring developments in Pakistan, both on the security and economic fronts.

In the past three months, over a dozen statements have mentioned Pakistan specifically or in passing, and in each case, the tone and tenor reflects a level of concern seldom seen in the past.

The latest State Department statement hoped for economic stability in the country, while stressing that Washington was not only aware of Pakistan’s financial issues, but was also backing efforts to rebuild the national economy.

Asked if Washington shared the fear — which many in the country have been voicing — that Islamabad is close to economic collapse, a State Department spokesperson told Dawn the country needed to work with international financial institutions to strengthen its economy.

“To put Pakistan on a sustainable growth path and restore investor confidence, we encourage Pakistan to continue working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on implementing reforms, especially those which will improve Pakistan’s business environment,” the US official said.

“Doing so will make Pakistani business more competitive and will also help Pakistan attract high quality foreign investment.”

When a similar question was put to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he told Dawn: “As long as we are willing to help ourselves”, others would continue to help Pakistan.

“We need to help them help us by taking necessary steps at home.”

The foreign minister noted that at a recent conference in Geneva, the international community had pledged to provide around half of the funds Pakistan needed for reconstruction after the 2022 floods. “Now, Pakistan needs to come up with the other 50 percent.”

The foreign minister also underscored the need to reach a “conclusion with the IMF” and follow up with French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres’ offer to renegotiate our debt.

To put things into perspective, the State Department official said, “Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability is a topic of conversation between the Pakistani and US governments, including the US Department of State and our counterparts, the Department of the Treasury, and the White House.”

Great power rivalry in South Asia

But why is Washington so preoccupied with Pakistan’s stability, economic and otherwise? Conventional wisdom suggests that the driving factor is our nuclear programme, and that the world cannot afford to see a nation with a nuclear arsenal teetering on the brink of oblivion. But this conventional wisdom only reveals the tip of the iceberg.

“Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world and the second largest Muslim country – and that too with a large army and an extensive nuclear infrastructure,” says Hassan Abbas, distinguished professor of International Relations at the National Defense University, Washington DC.

“For anyone interested in global stability and maintenance of prevailing international order, economic collapse of Pakistan can be devastating. The US, as a major global power, is naturally concerned.

“Secondly, the US would not like to see Pakistan’s economy collapse while it is steered by a democratic government which is trying hard to normalise its relationship with the US,” he says.

He also makes a point about the great power rivalry in South Asia: “[It’s] nature is such that it is in the US interest to convey to Pakistan that it wants to stay engaged and cooperate where possible, so that Pakistan is not leaning too heavily in China’s direction.”

This view is echoed by John Ciorciari, who teaches at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He notes that donors such as China and Saudi Arabia may not include many explicit conditions to their aid, but implicit strings are always attached.

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Can Pakistan break the cycle of destruction in flood rebuilding?

Past lessons
In 21 major floods between 1950 and 2011 — almost one flood every three years — Pakistan lost about $19 billion, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study on devastating floods in 2010 that caused damage of about $10 billion.


GOZO, PAKISTAN – It is nearly five months since floodwaters swept away Muhammad Fazal’s general store in southern Pakistan. Today, he is rebuilding his shop on taller, sturdier foundations — hopeful he will be better prepared the next time floods hit his village.

Fazal, 28, who borrowed the money for the construction work from a nonprofit organization, counts himself among the lucky ones — despite his 400,000-rupee ($1,495) loss — as many Pakistanis struggle to recover from last year’s devastation.

“I’ve raised the level of my shop and I’m rebuilding it better,” he said in his village of Gozo in Dadu, a densely populated district of Sindh province that was hard hit by the ruinous nationwide floods.

More than 1,700 people were killed and 8 million were displaced by the flooding, which also destroyed about a million homes and businesses across the country of 220 million people, disaster management officials say.

About five million people — mostly in Sindh and the southwestern province of Balochistan — are still exposed to floodwater months after monsoon rains and melting glaciers caused the disaster.

With waters still receding, international donors pledged more than $9 billion in Geneva last month to help the cash-strapped South Asian country recover and rebuild.

Pakistan, which is mired in a deepening economic crisis, had sought funds to cover around half of a recovery bill amounting to $16.3 billion.

Now, it aims to use the money to implement its Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Framework, dubbed 4RF, a recovery strategy that sets out to build long-term climate resilience and adaptation.

That will mean boosting its flood defenses to prevent a repeat of the loss of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure, and government officials say swift action is vital as climate change impacts gather pace.

“Developing countries like Pakistan face an accelerated onset of climate disasters before we can rehabilitate. What if this summer brings fresh horrors? We are in a race against time,” the country’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

Past lessons
In 21 major floods between 1950 and 2011 — almost one flood every three years — Pakistan lost about $19 billion, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study on devastating floods in 2010 that caused damage of about $10 billion.

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Can Pakistan break the cycle of destruction in flood rebuilding?

An additional nine million people risk being pushed into poverty on top of the 33 million affected by last year’s floods, the U.N. development agency said on Jan. 5, just before the Geneva conference.

This time, lessons must be learned, said Amir Ali Chandio, a political economy and human rights academic who recently retired from Sindh’s Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.

Like many other experts, he says the loss of lives and property over the years has been aggravated by poor floodwater management at a time of rapid development and population growth.

“Natural waterways have been encroached upon. People have made their houses on waterways. Roads without bridges have also blocked the water path,” said Mustafa Mirani, chairperson of the Fisherfolk Forum civil society group.

Unchecked construction in flood-prone areas is an aggravating factor, said Ajay Kumar, an official with the Sindh Provincial Disaster Management Authority, but he said heavy rains “did the real damage” last year.

Beyond repairing the immediate damage, the flood response must be holistic and far-reaching if it is to succeed in building climate resilience, said Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, a rural development consultant and agricultural education extension expert.

“We need a climate action plan, a climate youth policy, climate-smart agriculture and livestock. People should know how to be resilient in the face of climate change. An insurance policy for crops and livestock should be introduced,” he said.

He called for mapping of high-risk areas, and the opening of natural waterways. Houses in areas next to coasts or riverbanks, or in other flood-prone spots, should be built on raised platforms, and farmland should be rehabilitated.

The ADB report recommended beefing up flood forecasting and early warning systems and linking any efforts to build large reservoirs to cope with recent water and energy crises to flood management.

Riaz Haq said...

Can Pakistan break the cycle of destruction in flood rebuilding?

Presenting the 4RF plan in Geneva, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the government would use “every penny” of the pledges to benefit flood-hit people, trumpeting the success of emergency measures including the distribution of cash grants to 2.7 million households.

The strategy details plans for thorough third-party auditing and mechanisms to ensure transparency and well-targeted spending.

About 90% of the commitments for the recovery will be rolled out as project loans over the next three years, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said after the Geneva meeting. The rest is aid.

Ensuring the money gets spent on the right projects is vital to the plan’s long-term success, said Malik Amin Aslam, a former aide to Pakistan’s prime minister for climate change.

“The efficacy of this funding will all depend on how transparently these funds are used to ensure they can be maximized for climate-compatible development,” said Aslam by phone.

While praising the plan, he said a more substantial chunk of the funding should be allocated to immediate and urgent relief for the millions of people still affected by the disaster.

Implementing the government’s strategy to develop “climate-resilient, sustainable and adaptive infrastructure” will only be possible if local officials are on the same page, said Ahmad Rafay Alam, an environmental lawyer.

“For this to work, we also need to capacitate local governments,” he said, noting that the $9 billion pledged by donors fell far short of the World Bank’s loss and damage estimate of $30 billion.

Badly in need of immediate relief are people like Aziza, 25, a mother of six who lives in a small village in Dadu district.

The floodwaters destroyed the house that she and her husband managed to build after selling their buffalo, leaving them to salvage what they could from the wreckage, she said.

Now, all the family have for shelter is a one-roomed thatched hut perched on an islet surrounded by stagnant water. There is not even a toilet, and Aziza and her husband barely earn enough to buy food — let alone building materials.

When her neighbor Allah Wadhaya’s wife went into labor, they had to travel 20 kilometers by boat in floodwater from their village to the town of Johi.

The roads are no longer under water, but life is far from back to normal, said Wadhaya, a brick laborer.

“There isn’t much labor yet for us because there’s still floodwater standing in villages and fields. The relief packs we get aren’t enough and I’ve sold off whatever little gold I had,” he said, standing next to the ruins of his mud-brick home.

In several places, international aid organizations and local NGOs are supporting climate-resilient house reconstruction.

In the village of Pehlwan Khan Khosa in Sindh’s Jamshoro district, a project funded by the International Labour Organization paid villagers to rebuild their flood-ravaged homes.

HANDS Pakistan, a nonprofit, has helped people rebuild about 90,000 flood-resistant houses since 2012, training masons and providing technical support.

“Having tapered roofs, 80% of the houses we helped people build survived the (2022) flood,” said Anis Danish, chief services Executive at HANDS, showing off models of specially designed houses and bricks at his office in Karachi.

“Now we have to go for resilience religiously,” he said. “We need to break the cycle of destruction.”

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After Floods, Pakistani Architect Wants to Give Up Concrete

The Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, founded by Lari in 1980, is training villagers in Sindh province to build their own flood-resilient homes from cheap, locally available, low-carbon materials. Lari’s designs use bamboo panels, which are reinforced with earth and lime, and sit on raised platforms—small twists on traditional mud huts that make them waterproof. Once they have the skills, residents can expand their villages and train others. Between mid-September and the end of 2022, the foundation helped build 3,500 homes in 60 villages. Now, Lari is trying to persuade NGOs, banks, and foreign donors to directly fund her trained artisans and local communities, with the aim of building one million homes by 2024.


The timing is urgent. Pakistan is about to launch into one of its most intense periods of rebuilding in its history. Authorities say at least two million people are in need of shelter. And money is on the way: in January, a group of banks and countries pledgedsome $9 billion in recovery funds.

If those resources are channeled into millions of concrete homes, built without the participation of the people who will live in them, Lari says, Pakistan will only continue in its cycle of crisis. “We have to be talking about: How will you deal with the next disaster? How do we train people to be able to defend themselves?

Lari was not always a champion of Pakistan’s vernacular architecture. When she began her career in Karachi in the 1960s, elites in a newly independent Pakistan were still deeply influenced by British colonialism. Lari had just graduated from the U.K.’s Oxford Brookes University, and her father had been a civil servant in the colonial government. “We grew up thinking that whatever was in the West was something that we all had to emulate,” she says.

Lari spent her first four decades as an architect designing in the western-influenced, globalized palate of concrete, steel, and glass. And she was good at it. Her striking brutalist homes and hotels and other structures won a slew of national and international awards. Her most famous building is probably the headquarters for Pakistan’s state-owned oil company, a sleek, imposing, carbon-intensive behemoth that opened in downtown Karachi in 1991. “The 1980s were a very wasteful time—you could get any material in the world that you wanted,” she says. “And as a designer you do enjoy that freedom.”
Pakistan is home to one of the ancient world’s most impressive examples of flood-resilient design. The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, a bronze age city in the southeastern province of Sindh, sit on raised platforms with sophisticated drainage systems that protected them from annual monsoon rains. Those features have helped the remains of these earthen buildings survive for 4,500 years—and weather the devastating floods that have repeatedly struck Pakistan over the last decade, most recently submerging a third of the country in August 2022.

And yet, according to Pakistani architect Yasmeeen Lari, those tasked with rebuilding the country from the floods tend to look not to Mohenjo-Daro, but to the West. “I call it the international colonial charity model: international NGOs and UN agencies say, ‘let’s bring in concrete, let’s bring burnt brick’,” she says. “Well, those are alien materials for people in these areas.”

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Project Summary:
Due to rising temperatures, glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountain ranges (the Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Karakorum) are melting rapidly and a total of 3,044 glacial lakes have developed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Of these, 33 glacial lakes have been assessed to be prone to hazardous glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF). GLOF are sudden events which can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, leading to the loss of lives, property and livelihoods amongst remote and impoverished mountain communities. Over 7.1 million people in GB and KP are vulnerable; in these areas, 26.7 percent and 22 percent of the population, respectively, are below the poverty line.

The Scaling-up of GLOF risk reduction in Northern Pakistan (GLOF-II) project is a continuation of the four-year ‘Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from GLOF in Northern Pakistan’ (GLOF-I) project. GLOF-I helped vulnerable communities prepare for and mitigate GLOF risks through early warning systems, enhanced infrastructure and community-based disaster risk management.

GLOF-II builds on the measures piloted by GLOF-I and aims to empower communities to identify and manage risks associated with GLOFs and related impacts of climate change, strengthen public services to lower the risk of disasters related to GLOF, and improve community preparedness and disaster response. The project will also support the development of sustainable options for livelihoods in project areas, with a particular focus on the participation of women in ensuring food security and livelihoods.

Expected results:
GLOF-II will scale up GLOF-I from its original two districts (one each in KP and GB) to cover 10 districts, benefiting 29 million people or 15 percent of the population of Pakistan. Expected results by the end of the project are:

At least two policies reviewed and/or revised to address or incorporate GLOF risk reduction.
In target communities, 95 percent of households able to receive and respond to early warnings and take the appropriate action.
At least 250 small-scale engineering structures established to reduce the effects of GLOF events on livelihoods, such as tree plantation, controlled drainage andmini dams.
Fifty weather monitoring stations to collect meteorological data in catchment areas; 408 river discharge sensors to collect river flood data. This data will inform hydrological modelling and help develop village hazard watch groups.
To improve food security and reduce flood risks due to deforestation and inefficient water use, 65,000 women will be trained in home gardening, 240 water-efficient farming technologies will be installed and 35,000 hectares of land will be reforested

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Pakistani villages recover slowly from epic floods

With houses still damaged and water scarce, farm families in south Punjab tend surviving animals and parched fields

RAJANPUR, Pakistan — Cradling his infant son in one arm, a village farmer brought out a wooden trough he had nailed together from broken boards. His brother poured grain into it. Hearing the sound, the family cow trotted across the yard and buried her nose in the feed. The little boy waved his arms, and everyone laughed.

Rajanpur, a rural district of southwestern Punjab province, sits at the edge of a vast fertile belt that has long been known as the breadbasket of Pakistan, growing much of its wheat, sugar, feed corn and cotton, as well as mangoes and green vegetables.

But seven months after the Indus River overflowed its banks and the picturesque Sulaiman Hills unleashed torrents of water amid heavy monsoon rains, decimated farm communities are still recovering from Pakistan’s worst natural disaster since its founding in 1947. Nationwide, more than 1,700 people died and over 30 million were displaced. More than a million farm animals also perished, swept away in fast waters or succumbing to hunger and cold.

In another hamlet nearby, two men on motorbikes unloaded heavy metal containers full of water, which they had filled at a town pump several miles away. Since the floods, the local water has remained too salty for either humans or farm animals to drink.

“It’s going to take a long time before things recover here,” said Mohammed Ali, a day laborer in his 40s who helps fetch the containers every morning. “It’s still hard to grow anything on the land. People have lost their homes and their belongings. But at least this way they can have some sweet water in the morning.”

Although most of the flooding affected other provinces, Rajanpur and next-door Dera Ghazi Khan were among 84 districts across the country to be declared “national calamity” areas. In Rajanpur alone, according to news reports and officials, 12 people were killed — including a woman bitten by a cobra that washed down from the hills. Another 3,000 were injured, 300,000 acres of cropland were ruined and 28,000 houses were damaged or destroyed, along with 425 schools, 16 hospitals and numerous bridges.

On a recent visit to several villages, the only access was along narrow, raised dirt tracks between endless fields. The surrounding landscape looked as if a tornado had roared through it erratically, leaving a few areas lush and green but turning many others into barren, lifeless patches of cracked brown earth that no ordinary plow could till.

Along the way, large puddles of dirty brown water sat stagnant, covered with green scum. A few sandpipers scuttled around the edges — shorebirds from afar that had arrived with the floods and remained behind afterward for reasons of their own.

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Pakistani villages recover slowly from epic floods

As the villages came into view, they appeared grim and silent at first. Many mud-brick houses and farm sheds were still in ruins. Roofs were missing, doorways were hung with tarps or jute tents, and piles of nearby rubble had not been moved. Children and baby goats scampered in dirt yards, but little else seemed to be happening.

Under a shady tree, Mohammad Asghar, 35, was tending to his most valuable possession, a brown and white dairy cow named Honesty. Unlike many of his skeptical neighbors, he had planned ahead when the first flood warnings came, walking her to a high paved road before the water rose and taking a supply of fodder as well. “I wanted to make sure nothing happened to her,” he said. “She gives me 3.5 liters [about a gallon] of milk every day.”

Planting and tending new crops, however, has proved to be far more challenging. Most of the farmers’ stored seeds and tools were washed away or ruined. The surrounding cropland was submerged for several months afterward, leaving a soggy, useless mess.

A variety of government and private agencies have brought help to the area since the floods, but the bulk of it was devoted to initial emergency rescues. As in many other parts of Pakistan, thousands of Rajanpur residents fled their flooded villages or were evacuated in boats, then marooned for weeks on elevated paved roads. Aid teams provided tents and blankets, food and water, medical and veterinary services, and other immediate needs.

“Our first priority was to save lives,” said Mohsin Issaq, the south Punjab coordinator for a private charity called Muslim Hands, which delivered food, supplies and medical aid to more than 14,000 stranded people. Now that most have returned home, he said, the group is focusing on permanent needs to sustain farming and daily life, such as water pumps and desalination kits. It also offers families a Quran if theirs was washed away or damaged. Every home needs to have one, he said. “It is an important cultural value.”

But long-term support for farm rehabilitation across millions of unusable acres is far more expensive than emergency food and medicine, and the floods struck at a time when Pakistan was already facing a long list of economic woes — rampant inflation, dwindling foreign reserves, record-low currency rates, and a heavy foreign debt burden that raised the prospect of financial default.

One estimate by Pakistani and U.N. officials put the total costs for flood damage recovery and reconstruction at $16.3 billion. Early international response was low, in part because of reports of aid misuse during Pakistan’s last major floods, in 2010. A conference in Geneva in January, however, donors from 40 countries and institutions, including the European Union, the United States and Saudi Arabia, pledged over $9 billion to help Pakistan recover from the floods, exceeding its request for $8 billion.

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Pakistani villages recover slowly from epic floods

Still, Abid Qaiyum Suleri, an environmental expert in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, noted in an essay in the News newspaper in January that millions of poor people in flood-affected areas feel “as helpless today … as they were yesterday,” with their land useless, their homes still in ruins and scant prospects for the future. Physical reconstruction, he added, “is only part of what is required for a dignified recovery for flood survivors.”

One determined farmer in Rajanpur, a man in his 60s named Hamidullah, decided to take a chance two months ago and plant wheat on his four acres of land. He said he felt lucky because he and his wife and children had been saved from the flood by clinging to their large male buffalo, who was heavy and able to swim through the rushing water to higher ground.

“I used to grow cotton and rice, but none of that can grow here now. The land is too dry and they need a lot of water,” he said. He pointed to his small patch of emerald green outside the village, surrounded by larger, barren ground. “So far it is coming along,” he said. “We lost everything; our beds, our cooking pots, our clothes. But we survived, because of our buffalo,” he said. “If this wheat crop does well, maybe I can rebuild our house.”

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Rebuilding Pakistan: how much should rich nations help?

The disastrous floods offer a test case for what wealthy, polluting nations owe those at the mercy of extreme weather events

After months of living in a camp for displaced people, Rajab and Jado are rebuilding a home that they already know may not last.

The married couple haul wheelbarrows of mud through barren fields and stagnant water, sombre reminders of the historic floods that last year washed away their village of Khoundi in southern Pakistan. They daub it on to the wall surrounding their half-built brick bungalow and makeshift tarpaulin tents.

“We don’t have enough money to buy cement or proper bricks,” says Rajab, whose family of 12 is eating one meal a day. “We know that this will go down. But what can we do?”

Pakistan is still reeling from the floods that inundated the country of 220mn people between June and October. The floods, exacerbated by climate change, caused an estimated $30bn in damages and economic losses, destroyed millions of homes and farms and pushed the country — already struggling financially — to the brink of default.

As it rebuilds, Pakistan will be a test case for an issue of growing global importance: how vulnerable countries, many of which have contributed little to global greenhouse gas emissions, recover from the havoc wreaked by increasingly frequent and extreme weather events — and how much polluting rich nations should help them.

These questions dominated last year’s COP27 climate summit in November, at which nearly 200 nations agreed to the creation of a fund to finance the “loss and damage” caused by global warming.

With details of how that fund will work still being thrashed out by global negotiators, Pakistan has independently raised $9bn in loans and other financing at a conference in Geneva in January to pay for recovery, reconstruction and climate resilience.

The success or failure of its reconstruction plan, which the Pakistan government expects to take five to seven years, could influence the appetite of donors to direct financial support to countries or small island nations bearing the brunt of a warming planet.

But channelling climate financing to Pakistan — and ensuring it is well spent — is complicated, not least because of the country’s perennial political instability and economic mismanagement.

Pakistan relies on regular international bailouts, with prime minister Shehbaz Sharif currently trying to unlock the next $1bn tranche of a $7bn IMF loan programme that analysts say the country needs to avoid bankruptcy. Its foreign reserves have fallen to about $3bn, less than one month’s worth of imports.

Beyond the long-term challenge of tackling climate-change, Pakistan is facing an overwhelming list of immediate challenges. There are growing shortages of food, fuel and other basic essentials. Poverty is rising and millions of people in flood-hit areas are going hungry, out of school or displaced. With the next rainy season just a few months away, people like Rajab and Jado — beneficiaries of a pilot scheme run by Islamic Relief and the United Nations Development Programme — do not have the luxury of time.

Pakistani authorities and donors are also trying to look further ahead and direct funds into projects designed to withstand future climate shocks. Examples range from better early warning systems to, in the case of the Khoundi pilot, toilets built on elevated plinths to make it harder for contamination to spread during floods.

“The challenge is to start implementing a long-term approach and strategy to climate risks,” says Alexandre Magnan, senior research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. “It is the responsibility of the national decision-makers and probably also of regional and international partners to push for that . . . We really need examples that show that it is possible.”

Riaz Haq said...

Rebuilding Pakistan: how much should rich nations help?

Adapting to extreme weather
The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since pre-industrial times, and any additional increase will bring more frequent and extreme weather events, scientists warn. Many of them will occur in developing countries that lack the resources to build back from floods, fires or hurricanes.

Whether — and how — rich countries should help poorer nations cope with such destruction remains an open question. The world’s most advanced economies have long resisted the notion of providing “loss and damage” financing because they worry doing so could constitute a tacit admission of guilt.

That position became untenable in 2022, partly due to the pressure generated by Pakistan’s floods. Animesh Kumar, head of the UN’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Bonn, says it was “an eye-opener” that laid bare the world’s lack of preparedness for the onslaught of climate crises coming down the line. A study by the World Weather Attribution group estimated that the country’s monsoon rains last year were up to 50 per cent more intense than they would have been without climate change.

At the peak of the disaster, 33mn people and more than half of the country’s districts were affected. In Sindh, the worst-hit province where Khoundi is located, the majority of the rice, cotton and sugar cane crops were lost. The floods knocked at least 2.2 per cent off Pakistan’s gross domestic product last year, the World Bank estimated.

The loss and damage fund agreed at COP 27 was a breakthrough— although finalising which nations pay into it is a subject that will be wrestled over in the coming months. A decision is unlikely to be made this year. Countries, including EU members, are anxious that others such as China and Saudi Arabia — which are technically classified as developing countries under the UN system despite growth over the past 30 years — contribute their share.

Many countries say it cannot be governments alone footing the bill and are calling for multilateral development banks to provide more support to impoverished nations suffering from climate shocks. The World Bank, whose president abruptly announced his resignation in February, is under particular pressure to overhaul its operations and integrate climate into its development work.

Another hurdle is quantifying the scale of expected destruction. Researchers at the Basque Centre for Climate Change have estimated that developing countries could suffer losses of $580bn in 2030. During the first half of 2022 alone, there were at least 187 disasters from natural hazards across 79 countries that caused more than $40bn worth of damage, according to the Em-Dat international disasters database.

Without more financial help, developing countries say they risk being caught in a cycle of disasters and poverty. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Pakistan’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, warned of “recovery traps”. Rebuilding takes time and money, she said, and “by the time you do that the next crisis is on you”.

But how to distribute recovery money fairly is a politically fraught discussion. “Will funding go to the people who’ve lost the most or to the people who didn’t have anything to lose originally?” asks Daniel Clarke, director of the Centre for Disaster Protection.

Pakistan estimates that it needs about $16bn for recovery, more than half of which it secured in Geneva from international donors including the Islamic Development Bank, World Bank and USAID. “The financial pledges were much more than we thought,” says Knut Ostby, the UN Development Programme’s regional representative in Pakistan. “Now is the time to follow up.”

Riaz Haq said...

Rebuilding Pakistan: how much should rich nations help?

In the district of Dadu, where Khoundi is located, large-scale reconstruction work is yet to begin. The village of Ibrahim Chandio has been reduced to rubble. Its former residents now live in tents nearby, with little expectation of that changing anytime soon. Displacement is pushing them into more precarious situations, as farmers struggle to grow crops on the inundated soil and families run low on funds for food.

Syed Murtaza Ali Shah, the district’s most senior local official, says the authorities want to reinforce a number of roads and embankments to prevent them breaking, but they don’t yet have the funds to do so. “The next monsoon could be heavier than this one,” he says. Work is “a stop-gap arrangement . . . Somebody is building 50 houses, someone else is trying to build 10 houses with whatever funds are available.”

Much of the money will come in the form of loans and they are tied to the financing of specific projects rather than budgetary support. The World Bank, for example, plans to lend about $2bn to rebuild houses and improve irrigation among other projects in Sindh.

Because the speed at which financing arrives varies from donor to donor, it can lead to frustrations and crucial delays for the communities that need it most.

In the district of Dadu, where Khoundi is located, large-scale reconstruction work is yet to begin. The village of Ibrahim Chandio has been reduced to rubble. Its former residents now live in tents nearby, with little expectation of that changing anytime soon. Displacement is pushing them into more precarious situations, as farmers struggle to grow crops on the inundated soil and families run low on funds for food.

Syed Murtaza Ali Shah, the district’s most senior local official, says the authorities want to reinforce a number of roads and embankments to prevent them breaking, but they don’t yet have the funds to do so. “The next monsoon could be heavier than this one,” he says. Work is “a stop-gap arrangement . . . Somebody is building 50 houses, someone else is trying to build 10 houses with whatever funds are available.”

Some experts like Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, a climate change consultant in Islamabad, are wary of “pledged” funds, which he says often recounts money committed for existing programmes.

Disbursements were also subject to crippling, sometimes permanent, delays, as projects conceived on paper struggle to get off the ground in practice.

While Pakistan’s fundraising is “a very important building block”, Sheikh says, “in real life, the answer [to where the money goes] will be complex”.

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Crisis after crisis
Even before the floods, Pakistan was already in crisis.

Inflation has soared, with a price index of everyday items last week rising 41 per cent year on year. With upcoming elections, Sharif’s government is engaged in toxic political squabbling with rival Imran Khan, who was ousted as prime minister last year and recently survived an assassination attempt. The threat of violent extremism is rising, with a mosque bombing in January killing about 100 people.

Sharif’s government argues that the floods means it should be exempt from some of the austerity conditions the IMF wants to see implemented to restart lending, which ranged from raising taxes to cutting subsidies. The conditions, the NGO Human Rights Watch has warned, “hit hardest on the people already most heavily affected.”

Riaz Haq said...

Rebuilding Pakistan: how much should rich nations help?

“No country has taken the hit like Pakistan of a $30bn climate disaster,” says Ahsan Iqbal, the country’s planning minister. “There has to be this understanding that the economy does not need more shocks.”

Yet critics at home and abroad say many of Pakistan’s woes are self-inflicted. A succession of weak governments have prioritised short-term, politically motivated spending, they say, while promoting import-friendly policies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. The authorities have also cracked down on NGOs, which critics say has hobbled civil society and limited its ability to respond to crises.

The country’s political system is also destabilised by its powerful army, who have long exerted control behind the scenes, and Pakistan ranks 140 out of 180 on Transparency International’s corruption perception index.

“Ours is a very elite captured society,” says Miftah Ismail, who was finance minister before resigning in September. “The elite is happy with the status quo . . . Politics is all about everybody wanting to be in power, at great cost to the nation.”

Pakistan’s government has acknowledged the need for institutional reforms in its blueprint for reconstruction. Examples include improving building regulations to prevent hazardous construction in flood plains, as well as creating a third-party monitoring system to ensure the funds are well spent.

Yet Sharif’s days in office may be numbered, with many analysts predicting Khan would win if elections later this year are a free contest. While Khan has professed the importance of climate resilience, long-term plans like these have consistently struggled to survive the country’s frequent and turbulent power transitions.

“Money alone is not enough,” says Germany’s climate envoy Jennifer Morgan. “It’s crucial that governance structures and processes in the recipient countries exist to ensure that the money is going to reach the people who need it the most. That’s a key question in loss and damage: how do we make sure that funds actually get to the local level.”

Some experts within Pakistan are not optimistic. Dysfunctional relationships between rival federal, provincial and district-level governments could prevent funds from reaching projects and making real change. “Will these funds touch the ground? [And] to what extent are . . . [local] government structures resilient enough to enable the flow of funds in a transparent fashion?” says Nausheen Anwar, an urban planning expert at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

There is also the risk that poorly planned projects could inadvertently cause future problems, which some researchers refer to as “maladaptation”. In February, local activists in Badin, in Sindh, organised a conference to discuss the decades-old Left Bank Outfall Drain project, part financed by the World Bank, which they said had made the flooding worse after it burst. An independent inspection in 2006 identified numerous “shortcomings” in the $1bn project.

Riaz Haq said...

Rebuilding Pakistan: how much should rich nations help?

Nowhere is the disillusionment greater than in flood-hit areas. In Khoundi, the village’s only government school has been a ruin since 2010, another year of disastrous flooding in the region.

Imdad Ali, a 38-year-old teacher, holds classes for handfuls of students on a bench outside. About 80 children are enrolled, but only 15 to 20 attend each day, locals say, with others going to a locally run NGO school or not studying at all. At 23mn, Pakistan has one of the world’s second-highest population of children out of school.

Sindh is the base of the Bhutto dynasty, whose Pakistan People’s Party is in the country’s ruling coalition. But people have little faith in them or any of the other parties. “There are no facilities, no chairs, no tables,” Ali says. “We have asked several times for help. But it doesn’t come.”

An academic paper about the 2010 recovery effort, published in the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment in 2020, concluded that “the local administration returned to day to day operations with no community resilience or long-term recovery related programmes.”

Sobia Kapadia, an architect who helped with the recovery effort a decade ago, says planning this time “requires a resolve for change, and a complete [overhaul] of existing systems” to change how local and federal authorities interact with each other, as well as shifting the balance of power and resources.

“Unless and until you do things at the ground level with the community, things will not change,” she adds.

Few locals believe that will happen. Some laugh bitterly when asked whether they expected their hometowns to become resilient to climate shocks.

Nazeer Hussain, a 43-year-old wheat miller in Khoundi, says the country’s leaders only care about securing power for themselves. “We have been hearing in the media that the government has been having meetings [to raise money to] build homes and shelters,” he adds. “But there is zero chance of that.”

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UNICEF Pakistan Humanitarian Situation Report No. 10 (Floods): 28 February 2023

Moving into 2023, urgent and significant humanitarian needs remain which require continued focus and support, even as reconstruction and rehabilitation begin under the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Resilient, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF).

The 2022 flood was equivalent to nearly 2.9 times the national 30-year average – and a combination of riverine, urban, and flash flooding led to a record flood in which 94 districts were declared calamity-hit. The widespread flooding and landslides resulted in major losses of human lives and damage to property and infrastructure. Around 33 million people were affected, nearly 8 million people were reportedly displaced, and as per UN Satellite Centre imagery around 4.5 million people are still exposed to or living close to flood water. As per the last NDMA situation report, 1,739 people lost their lives (of which 647 were children), 12,867 were injured (including 4,006 children) and more than 2.28 million houses were damaged (partially damaged: 1,391,467 and fully damaged: 897,014).

An estimated 20.6 million people, including 9.6 million children, need humanitarian assistance. Many of the hardest-hit districts are amongst the most vulnerable districts in Pakistan, where children already suffer from high malnutrition, poor access to water and sanitation, low school enrolment, and other deprivations. Moreover, the effects of the floods have worsened pre-existing vulnerabilities to key child-protection issues and gender-based violence (GBV). Children, particularly those living in poverty, are at a higher risk of being forced into child labour, child marriage and violence. The affected area in need of community-based psychosocial support and specialized interventions. As per the PDNA, beyond the increase in monetary poverty, estimates indicate an increase in multidimensional poverty from 37.8 per cent to 43.7 per cent, meaning that an additional 1.9 million households will be pushed into non-monetary poverty. This entails significantly increased deprivations around access to adequate health, sanitation, quality maternal health care, electricity, and loss of assets. Multidimensional poverty will increase by 13 percentage points in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), followed by 10.9 in Balochistan, and 10.2 in Sindh province.

As per the latest available reports, more than 5.4 million people do not have access to safe or potable water in flood-affected districts. An estimated 1.1 million people are at risk of sliding from acute food and livelihood crisis (IPC3) situations to humanitarian emergency (IPC4) food security situations due to insufficient support. Malaria outbreaks have been reported in at least 12 districts of Sindh and Balochistan. Over 7 million children and women need immediate access to nutrition services. An estimated 3.5 million children, especially girls, are at high risk of permanent school dropouts.

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#US meteorologists' new scales for ‘atmospheric rivers’: Storms that hit #California this winter reached AR-4 (clouds carrying as much water as the Mississippi), while the atmospheric river responsible for #Pakistan’s devastating #floods in 2022 was AR-5

Clouds carrying as much water as the Mississippi have caused misery in the US. Now meteorologists can compare such events

For skiers it has been an epic winter in California, with more than 16 metres of snow recorded at the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada. But for many people the excessively stormy winter has brought misery, submerging homes in snow, and causing widespread flooding and landslides across the state. The source of this string of powerful storms has been an “atmospheric river”, with clouds carrying as much moisture as the Mississippi.

Atmospheric rivers are nothing new, but they do appear to be growing more intense and frequent, driven by warmer temperatures and faster evaporation from the world’s oceans. Now scientists have devised an intensity scale for atmospheric rivers, enabling forecasters to rank the severity and identify extremes. The scale, described in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, mirrors the hurricane scale and runs from AR-1 to AR-5, with AR-5 being the most intense.

The storms that hit California this winter reached AR-4, while the atmospheric river responsible for Pakistan’s devastating floods in 2022 was AR-5. The scale enables meteorologists to compare atmospheric river events around the world, map out the most probable locations and help people better prepare. Strong El Niño years are more likely to have intense atmospheric rivers, and current forecasts indicate an El Niño is likely to develop by the end of this year.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB and the partners allocated US$ 5.5 billions for projects in Pakistan. Moreover, US$ 2.6 billion dollars concessional loans were approved for Pakistan.

The Asian Development Bank overall made 31.8 billion dollars project financing in Asia, the bank’s annual report stated.

Devastating floods inflicted maximum loss to the economy in Pakistan in 2022. These unprecedented floods damaged crops and disbalanced the demand and supply in the country, the report said.

“Destruction of crops also hike prices in local market,” according to the ADB report. “The conflict between Russia and Ukraine caused inflation at the global leve,” the bank’s annual report said.

“Pakistan required the expets on climate change to avoid losses inflicted by the change in weather patterns,” ADB report stated. “The ADB providing services of the experts to the country to avoid hazards of rapid changes in climate”.

“Unprecedented floods in Pakistan claimed 1730 human lives and affected 33 million people across the country,” ADB said in its report. The flood

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Yasmeen Lari, 'starchitect' turned social engineer wins one of architecture's most coveted prizes - CNN Style

The Royal Gold Medal is awarded to a person (or group of people) who has had "significant influence on the advancement of architecture" and, RIBA says, "acknowledges Yasmeen Lari's work championing zero-carbon self-build concepts for displaced populations."

Yasmeen Lari, widely recognised as Pakistan's first female architect, has become the first woman since Zaha Hadid to win the prestigious Royal Gold Medal, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Lari, described by RIBA as "a revolutionary force in Pakistan," was recognized for the socially conscious work, creating accessible, environmentally friendly homes for the country's most marginalized people — those living below the poverty line and in communities displaced by natural disasters and the impact of climate change.
The Royal Gold Medal is awarded to a person (or group of people) who has had "significant influence on the advancement of architecture" and, RIBA says, "acknowledges Yasmeen Lari's work championing zero-carbon self-build concepts for displaced populations."

The award is personally approved by the British monarch and this year's is the first to be signed off by King Charles III.

"I was so surprised to hear this news and of course totally delighted! I never imagined that as I focus on my country's most marginalised people — venturing down uncharted vagabond pathways — I could still be considered for the highest of honours in the architectural profession," Lari said in a statement. "There are innumerable opportunities to implement principles of circular economy, de-growth, transition design, eco-urbanism, and what we call Barefoot Social Architecture (BASA) to achieve climate resilience, sustainability and eco justice in the world."
Born in Pakistan in 1941, Lari studied at Oxford Brookes University before returning to Pakistan in 1964 where she overcame "considerable challenges" to establish Lari Associates, her own architecture firm, creating glitzy buildings for major government, business, and financial institutions. But she developed a deepening sense of guilt over the amount of concrete and steel used, and has said she has been "atoning" ever since, now working to a mantra of "low cost, zero carbon, zero waste."

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Pakistan, still recovering from last year's floods, braces for more flooding this year - CBS News

Pakistanis have begun working on agricultural methods that can withstand extreme weather. Miliband says the IRC is developing and distributing seeds that can survive excessive rain and other challenging conditions.

Miliband also said that giving people cash up front — before weather disaster strikes — can help protect people who live in areas vulnerable to extreme conditions. This kind of anticipatory cash relief is better than payments that come after the damage is done, he argued, because it enables people who know what their communities need to better prepare and insulate themselves against the next climate emergency.

For now, Pakistanis are still coping with all the floods destroyed — fields, crops, homes, schools and hospitals. Shelter remains a top priority for aid organizations that distributed tents to families after 2.1 million homes were damaged. The country's infrastructure still has not been rebuilt. In Sindh province, more than 89,000 people remained displaced as of January 2, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, with many relocating their tents to higher elevations.

Clean drinking water is also in short supply. More than 10 million people in flood-affected areas still lack access to safe drinking water, according to UNICEF.

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The octogenarian architect (Yasmeen Lari) working to flood-proof Pakistan - Digital Journal

At 82 years old, architect Yasmeen Lari is forging the way in fortifying Pakistan’s rural communities living on the frontline of climate change.

Lari, Pakistan’s first woman architect, has ditched a lifetime of multi-million dollar projects in the megacity of Karachi to develop pioneering flood-proof bamboo houses.

The few pilot settlements already constructed are credited with saving families from the worst of the catastrophic monsoon flooding that put a third of the country underwater last year.

“We continued to live in them,” said Khomo Kohli, a 45-year-old resident of Pono Colony village, which is a few hundred kilometres outside of Karachi.

“The rest of the residents had to move onto the road where they lived for two months until the water receded.”

Now, Lari is campaigning to scale up the project to one million houses made from affordable local materials, bringing new jobs to the most vulnerable areas.

“I call it a kind of co-building and co-creation, because the people have an equal part in embellishing it and making it comfortable for themselves,” she said.

The architect, who trained in the United Kingdom, is behind some of Karachi’s most notable buildings, including brutalist constructions such as the Pakistan State Oil headquarters, as well as a string of luxury homes.

As she was considering retirement, a series of natural disasters — including a massive 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods — stiffened her resolve to continue working with her Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, which manages her rural projects.

“I had to find the solution, or find a way by which I could build up the capacities of people so that they could fend for themselves, rather than waiting for outside help,” she told AFP.

“My motto is zero carbon, zero waste, zero donor, which I think leads to zero poverty,” she said.

– Traditional techniques –

Climate change is making monsoon rains heavier and more unpredictable, scientists say, raising the urgency to flood-proof the country — particularly as the poorest live in the most vulnerable areas.

Pakistan, with the world’s fifth-largest population, is responsible for less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions but is one of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather.

Pono Colony, with around 100 houses, was developed just months before catastrophic monsoon rains arrived last summer and displaced eight million people.

The village’s elevated homes are protected from rushing water, while their bamboo skeletons — pierced deep into the ground — can withstand pressure without being uprooted.

Known locally as “chanwara”, the mud huts are an improved take on the traditional single-room houses dotted along the landscape of southern Sindh province and Rajasthan state in India.

They require only locally available materials: lime, clay, bamboo and thatching. With straightforward training to locals, they can be assembled at a cost of around $170 — around an eighth of the cost of a cement and brick house.

In rural Sindh, tens of thousands of people are still displaced and stagnant water stands in large parts of farmland almost a year after the country’s worst-ever floods.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank in a joint study estimated Pakistan sustained $32 billion in damage and economic losses and would require $16 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

– Royal recognition –

Lari recalls working on social housing in Lahore in the 1970s, when local women pored over her plans and probed her on where their chickens would live.

“Those chickens have really remained with me, the women’s needs are really the uppermost when I’m designing,” she said.

This time around, the redesign of traditional stoves has become a significant feature — now lifted off the floor.

Riaz Haq said...

The 82-year-old female architect working to flood-proof Pakistan

Yasmeen Lari, the country’s first female architect, is making bamboo houses for people living on the front lines of climate change.

At 82, architect Yasmeen Lari is forging a path in fortifying Pakistan’s rural communities living on the front lines of climate change.

Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect, ditched a lifetime of multimillion-dollar projects in the megacity of Karachi to develop pioneering flood-proof bamboo houses.

The few pilot settlements already constructed are credited with saving families from the worst of the catastrophic monsoon flooding that put a third of the country underwater last year.

“We continued to live in them,” said Khomo Kohli, a 45-year-old resident of Pono Colony village, located a few hundred kilometres outside of Karachi.

“The rest of the residents had to move onto the road where they lived for two months until the water receded.”

Now, Lari is campaigning to scale up the project to one million houses made from affordable local materials, bringing new jobs to the most vulnerable areas.

“I call it a kind of co-building and co-creation because the people have an equal part in embellishing it and making it comfortable for themselves,” she said.

The architect, who trained in the United Kingdom, is behind some of Karachi’s most notable buildings, including brutalist constructions such as the Pakistan State Oil headquarters, as well as a string of luxury homes.

As she was considering retirement, a series of natural disasters – including a massive 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods – stiffened her resolve to continue working with her Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, which manages her rural projects.

“I had to find the solution, or find a way by which I could build up the capacities of people so that they could fend for themselves, rather than waiting for outside help,” she told AFP news agency.


Lari recalls working on social housing in Lahore in the 1970s when local women pored over her plans and probed her on where their chickens would live.

“Those chickens have really remained with me, the women’s needs are really the uppermost when I am designing,” she said.

This time around, the redesign of traditional stoves has become a significant feature – now lifted off the floor.

“Earlier, the stove would have been on the ground level and so it was immensely unhygienic. The small children would burn themselves on the flames, stray dogs would lick pots and germs would spread,” said Champa Kanji, who has been trained by Lari’s team to build stoves for homes across Sindh.

“Seeing women becoming independent and empowered gives me immense pleasure,” Lari said.

Lari’s work has been recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects, which awarded her the 2023 Royal Gold Medal for her dedication to using architecture to change people’s lives.

Riaz Haq said...

2022 Pakistan Floods

According to the Pakistan Education Sector Working Group, the floods affected 2.2 million children and damaged a total of 34,204 schools in 126 districts. As of early March 2023 there was a 40% gap in funding and low coverage to support school rehabilitations.

According to UNOCHA in their Feb. 6, 2023 Situation Report, “An estimated 3.5 million children, especially girls, are at high risk of permanent school dropout. The longer that the children are away from school, the less likely they are to return, and prolonged education disruptions are increasing learning disparities.”

Pakistan has a long history of major disasters disrupting education for children. Work to cleanup and restore educational facilities damaged by the flooding is ongoing and temporary learning centers are used to continue children’s education as recovery continues. As of April 15, there were 1,586 temporary learning centers (TLCs) in operation. A lack of funding is delaying rehabilitation and the provision of structures and transitional school shelters to damaged schools in flood-affected areas.

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GLOBALink | China donates hybrid rice seeds to flood-hit Pakistani province

Hybrid rice seed donation from China will play a major role in rebuilding the agriculture sector of Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province, which was badly affected by devastating floods last year, a Pakistani official said on Tuesday.

Addressing the seed donation ceremony, Balochistan's legislative assembly speaker Jan Muhammad Jamali said that the government and people of China extended great help to Pakistan in rehabilitation work after the flood, and through the seed donation, it will help the people who lost all their fortune in the calamity.

Jamali said 85 percent to 90 percent of Balochistan was affected by the floods last year, and the donated seeds will revive rice plantations in the province, where rice is a major crop.

Highlighting the friendship between the two countries, Bao Zhong, counselor of political affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, said China-Pakistan friendship is deeply embedded in the hearts of the two peoples.

She said China is willing to encourage enterprises of the two countries to carry out agricultural cooperation under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China is ready to share its advanced agricultural development technology and experience with Pakistan to help lift its agricultural development level, the Chinese counselor said.

"China will as always help Pakistan improve the livelihood of the people of Balochistan province, promote exchanges between sister provinces and cities, and encourage the development of local industries to benefit the local people," she added.

Zhou Xusheng, director of the international business department of Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Co. Ltd, which is the donor, said the Chinese company is willing to continue to provide training on hybrid rice cultivation techniques to Pakistani farmers to help increase agricultural output and their income.

Launched in 2013, CPEC is a corridor linking Pakistan's Gwadar Port with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport, and industrial cooperation.

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USAID Announces Funding to Support Flood-Affected Communities in Pakistan

Today in Sindh, Pakistan, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman announced $16.4 million in additional development and humanitarian assistance to support the resilience of communities in Pakistan that experienced 2022’s historically severe floods, which impacted an estimated 33 million people and had a devastating impact on infrastructure, crops, livelihoods, and livestock throughout the country.

This new funding will reach over 20 million flood-affected individuals to assist in their recovery, risk reduction, and resilience. The assistance will address worsening food insecurity and malnutrition and help curb the spread of disease. In addition, this funding will support humanitarian partners to provide nutritious food to mothers and their children, help families rebuild local infrastructure to protect them from future disasters, and increase protection services to prevent gender-based violence and support survivors.

Following severe monsoon rains and resultant floods in Pakistan during mid-2022, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to lead the U.S. humanitarian response and rapidly provide aid to affected communities. This included working with partners to quickly scale-up vital humanitarian assistance, including through partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense to successfully complete an air bridge that delivered nearly 630 metric tons of life-saving relief commodities to Pakistan.

The U.S. is one of the largest donors to Pakistan, providing more than $200 million in humanitarian and development assistance since 2022’s catastrophic floods. The United States continues to stand with the people of Pakistan as they recover from the impacts of the historic floods.

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Thousands evacuated in #India and #Pakistan as #BiparjoyCyclone approaches. Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most affected by #climatechange, although the country’s contribution to global #greenhouse gas emissions is less than 1%.

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Pakistan’s army and civil authorities are planning to evacuate 80,000 people to safety along the country’s southern coast, and thousands in neighboring India sought shelter ahead of Cyclone Biparjoy, officials said Tuesday.

The cyclone is forecast to slam ashore in the densely populated region on Thursday. It is likely to be the most powerful to hit western India and Pakistan since 2021, and follows devastating floods that ravaged Pakistan last year, leaving 1,739 people dead and causing $30 billion in losses.

Biparjoy was packing maximum sustained winds of 180 kph (111 mph), according to the India Meteorological Department. It’s projected to hit land near Jakhau port in the Kutch district of Gujarat. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said the cyclone was 470 kilometers (292 miles) south of Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, on Tuesday morning.


Experts say climate change is leading to an increase in cyclones in the Arabian Sea region, making preparations for natural disasters all the more urgent. Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change, although the country’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is less than 1%.

“The oceans have become warmer already on account of climate change,” said Raghu Murtugudde, Earth system scientist at the University of Maryland. He said a recent study shows that the Arabian Sea has warmed up by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since March this year, making conditions favorable for severe cyclones.

A 2021 study found that the frequency, duration and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea had increased significantly between 1982 and 2019, he said.

U.N. climate reports have also stated that the intensity of tropical cyclones would increase in a warmer climate. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2019 found that since the 1950s, the fastest sea surface warming has occurred in the Indian Ocean.

Cyclone Tauktae in 2021 was the last severe cyclone that made landfall in the same region. It claimed 174 lives, a relatively low figure thanks to extensive preparations ahead of the cyclone.

In 1998, a cyclone that hit Gujarat claimed more than 1,000 lives and caused excessive damage. A cyclone that hit Sindh province and the city of Karachi in 1965 killed more than 10,000 people.

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Pakistan: EU mobilises over €16.5 million in humanitarian aid for most vulnerable

The Commission is providing €16.5 million to assist the most vulnerable people in Pakistan who have been affected by conflict as well as climate-induced disasters.

Of the overall allocation, €15 million will fund humanitarian organisations in Pakistan to provide food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation services as well as supporting Afghan refugees and their host communities. The other €1.5 million will focus on disaster preparedness programmes to promote climate resilience, foster coordination with local authorities and enhance the response.

The EU mobilised €30 million in humanitarian aid and coordinated the incoming assistance from Member States channelled through its Civil Protection Mechanism in response to the devastating floods that hit Pakistan in summer 2022. A year after, the funding announced today will also ensure continued support to those who lost resources and struggle to recover from the flood disaster.


In summer 2022, Pakistan faced the worst floods in its recent history which affected 33 million people, killing over 1700 people, and destroying at least 2.2 million houses. The floods submerged almost a third of the country and massively impacted agricultural production, resulting in a dramatic heightening of humanitarian needs.

The spillover of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is also affecting neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Iran, which also continue to deal with cross-border displacement. Pakistan has hosted refugees for over four decades. The estimated Afghan population in Pakistan amounts to around 3.7 million, including a deemed 1.6 million undocumented Afghans and those of other status.

The EU has allocated over €136 million in humanitarian assistance for Pakistan since 2016 and has been supporting the country since the 1990s, offering support in the wake of major disasters such as the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 and 2015 floods.

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This will not be swept away’: the bamboo homes helping Pakistan’s post-flood rebuild

A year ago, Shani Dana’s mudbrick house was swept away in the worst floods on record to hit Pakistan. More than 1,700 people were killed and 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Sindh province, where Dana lives, was the worst affected.

While waiting for government money to rebuild her home in Wasram village, in the Tando Allahyar district, word reached Dana that the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan (HFP), founded by a renowned architect, Yasmeen Lari, was building one-room homes in neighbouring Pono village.

The buildings “looked like rounded chauhras [traditional huts], but were octagonal in shape and the walls were much sturdier,” says Dana.

The HFP has helped build more than 5,000 chauhras since September. “In the next two months, I should be able to build another 2,600 homes,” says Lari, who is urging every villager who has built their home to help 10 others build theirs.

A year after the floods, tens of thousands of people are still waiting for help to rebuild. Organisations, like HFP and the NGO Karachi Relief Trust have been stepping in.

About 250 of the 1,000 one-room homes KRT is building in villages across Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan provinces should be finished by the end of August. The homes are being built using burned-earth bricks or cement blocks with roofs made of steel girders and precast cement slabs. “The houses we built in 2010 have survived and aged well,” said Ahsan Najmi, the trust’s architect.

The foundation agreed to help Wasram rebuild and in March the HFP team joined villagers to construct 50 new homes. Prefabricated bamboo frames were built on metre-high raised platforms. Walls made of bamboo canes were fixed and plastered with mud mixed with rice husk and lime, and radial-style conical roofs were fitted. Four solar panels, six water handpumps and 25 toilets were also built.

“This will not be swept away if the floods come again. It is not built at ground level, it’s airier and brighter since there is a window – ours didn’t have one before – and also looks much neater, since the walls and floor are plastered,” says Dana outside her new home.

“A loft can be built inside the room to accommodate extra trunks or space for sleeping; they can also add courtyards to extend the house,” adds Lari, a champion of sustainable, low-cost buildings, who designed the chauhras.

The HFP has helped build more than 5,000 chauhras since September. “In the next two months, I should be able to build another 2,600 homes,” says Lari, who is urging every villager who has built their home to help 10 others build theirs.

A year after the floods, tens of thousands of people are still waiting for help to rebuild. Organisations, like HFP and the NGO Karachi Relief Trust have been stepping in.

About 250 of the 1,000 one-room homes KRT is building in villages across Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan provinces should be finished by the end of August. The homes are being built using burned-earth bricks or cement blocks with roofs made of steel girders and precast cement slabs. “The houses we built in 2010 have survived and aged well,” said Ahsan Najmi, the trust’s architect.

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‘This will not be swept away’: the bamboo homes helping Pakistan’s post-flood rebuild

In Sindh province, the authorities only began disbursing the first tranche of the $727m (£577m) earmarked by the government for reconstruction – $500m from a World Bank loan and $227m from the Sindh authorities – in February.

“It took time to mobilise resources, to orient them, so that everything gets done accurately and transparently,” says Khalid Mehmood Shaikh, director of the Sindh People’s Housing Foundation (SPHF), which is overseeing the rebuilding work.

SPHF hopes 50,000 one-bedroom “resilient” cement, brick and steel homes will be livable by September. It has enough money to cover the cost of 350,000 homes, but needs at least $500m to finish all the work. “Once we have something to show on the ground, I’m hoping there will be a lot of donor support, as a lot of people have shown interest,” says Shaikh.

However, Lari questions the cost of the project and believes rebuilding could be cheaper and more sustainable. The houses SPHF is asking people to build cost 300,000 rupees (£825) each, about the same amount KRT’s homes are costing.

HFP homes, which are made of fully cured bamboo, the ends of which are covered with lime to protect them from termites, cost just 25,000 rupees. The lime in the plaster and bamboo also absorb and store carbon from the air, helping mitigate the effects of the climate crisis.

“I’m not doing anything new. I may have tweaked the design, but the material used is age-old, indigenous and easily available,” says Lari, who began her humanitarian work after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook northern Pakistan in 2005.

“People are now turning to these low-cost materials that we have been working with for nearly two decades,” says Naheem Hussain Shah, the HFP’s project manager.

The foundation recently worked with Islamic Relief to build 250 one-room homes, with toilets, in Balochistan’s Harnai district. It has also made three one-room schools for Unicef in Sindh. “The design was different, but the material is the same,” says Shah.

Environmental architect Shahid Khan, of the Indus Earth Trust, says building authorities cannot see beyond concrete and steel as “acceptable material” when building homes in urban areas. Using “good indigenous materials” such as bamboo correctly can produce buildings that can last 20 to 30 years.

Lari, who is this year’s recipient of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ royal gold medal, one of the world’s highest honours for architecture, says she would like the government to adopt sustainable alternatives to housing. “I am happy to provide any assistance if they would like to provide a better quality of life for the poor,” she says. “Our design is open source, available free. We can also identify many trained master artisans. It is up to the government. We are there to further the cause.”

An essential part of Lari’s work is involving communities in the rebuilding process so they learn a trade. While the foundation pays for the bulk of the materials and brings its expertise, local people collect the mud and rice husk, and provide the labour.

Khamo Umro, from Pono village, now earns 800 rupees a day rebuilding homes, double what he made as a farmhand. “The floods have been a blessing in disguise. For years it was my wife who was the primary earner as my work as a farmhand was off and on. But since February, I have been earning every day, which is a huge relief,” he says.

Yet, Lari doesn’t think her cheaper, alternative way to build will garner much interest from the authorities. “It uses very low-cost materials and, since the approach is participatory, it does not rely on intermediaries, so there is no possibility of pilferage or overheads.”

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In its first official assessment for 2023-24 (May-April), the government of Pakistan is forecasting the country’s wheat production to grow 6% to a record 28 million tonnes, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

“In recent years, abnormally hot and humid weather near harvest negatively affected output,” FAS Post Islamabad said. “This year, however, the weather was favorable throughout the growing season, resulting in record output. Government policies ensured adequate supply of seeds and other inputs throughout the growing cycle.”

Punjab, the major wheat-growing province, produced more than 1 million tonnes than last year, reaching 21.2 million tonnes. Production in other provinces — Sindh (3.8 million), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1.4 million) and Baluchistan (1.6) — was almost the same as last year.

The record harvest will help lower the country’s forecasted import needs from 3 million to 2 million tonnes in 2023-24 even as total consumption grows to 30.2 million tonnes from 29.2 million tonnes. Pakistan imported 2.6 million tonnes last marketing year.

“Domestic demand continues to expand with population growth, and the record crop production will still be insufficient to meet domestic needs,” the FAS said.

The government has procured about 6 million tonnes of wheat from the domestic market to replenish its strategic reserves, and government stocks as of mid-June were about 10 million tonnes, the FAS said. The government is expected to start releasing wheat to millers in August, which is later than last year. Until then, millers will buy wheat from the open market.

Prospects for the 2023-24 rice crop remain good, and the production forecast is unchanged. Weather during seeding and transplanting in May through June was optimum in the rice-growing areas. Rainfall was good, which reduced the need for irrigation water. The 9-million-tonne forecast, if realized, will be the second-largest crop ever, slightly less than the record 9.3-million-tonne crop in 2021-22.

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UN chief says Pakistan floods ‘litmus test for climate justice’ as aid lags | Floods News | Al Jazeera

The UN chief said Pakistan is responsible for less than 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but its people are 15 times more likely to die from climate-related disasters than people elsewhere.

“Billions were pledged” by rich nations in the aftermath of the floods, he said, “but the vast majority was in loans”. And Pakistan is still waiting for much of the funding, he added.

“Delays are undermining people’s efforts to rebuild their lives,” Guterres said during a special UNGA session dedicated to the catastrophe.

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Pakistan is planting lots of mangrove forests – so why are some upset? : NPR

KETI BANDAR, Pakistan — Wildlife ranger Mohammad Jamali boats through mangrove forests of the Indus River Delta, the terminus of a curly waterway that begins thousands of miles upstream in the Himalayas. Birds flutter in and out. Insects dart around mangrove roots that poke like fingers out of the mud. It looks ancient, but this part of the forest is only 5 years old.

"We planted this," says Jamali, 28-years-old. We — rangers of the wildlife department of the government of the southern Pakistani province of Sindh, and locals of nearby fishing communities.

This forest in southern Pakistan is part of one of the world's largest mangrove restoration projects, covering much of the vast delta, an area nearly the size of Rhode Island. These trees, which exist in slivers between sea and land, are powerhouses of sucking up the carbon dioxide that is dangerously heating up the planet.

"They do this very big job per hectare," says Catherine Lovelock, an expert on coastal ecology. Mangroves capture, or sequester, carbon dioxide "through their roots and into the soil, as well as above ground," she says.

This mangrove reforestation effort alone in the Indus Delta is expected to absorb anestimated 142 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next sixty years. It's a test case for restoration, and planting mangroves at this scale might help the fight to curb planetary warming.


In Pakistan, some environmentalists say without carbon credits, this massive reforestation project wouldn't have happened. They say the government was incentivized to support it. Instead of having to find the budget to do this, the government is being paid proceeds from carbon credit sales.

So far, Delta Blue Carbon has sold two batches of credits, most recently in June. It's made the provincial government around $40 million so far, according to local media outlet Arab News. It's big money in a poor country.

"It is paying money. It is generating revenue," says ecologist Rafiul Haq who consulted on the mangrove project. Haq says without that revenue stream, the government would be under pressure to let developers in, for shrimp farms or for seaside homes.

Haq says there's another benefit: auditors must evaluate the company's progress before they can sell more carbon credits, which means the mangrove forests are nurtured and protected, and the company has to show local communities are benefiting. "This is a blessing for us," Haq says. "We have to present ourselves as the good boy," he laughs.


To other environmentalists, the mangrove project is "carbon colonialism."

"I don't begrudge anyone, especially in areas like these, for taking money for large scale restoration projects like this," says Polly Hemming, director of the climate and energy program of the progressive think tank, the Australia Institute. But she says, "it's just another form of carbon colonialism. Like, we'll give you some money to restore your land," and then, sell "your credits to a polluter so they can continue emitting."

Underscoring that argument, Hemming pointed to one of the key purchasers of these carbon credits is one of the world's largest fossil fuel trading companies, Trafigura. It is also one of the world's largest traders of carbon credits. Through a spokesperson, the company declined to comment for this story.