Up-to-date and informed analyses of key issues of Pakistan.
Navigating the Future of Climate Change in Pakistan
A year after COP27 and the introduction of the Loss and Damage Fund; the issues regarding its implementation and allocation of the Fund are surfacing.
The Conferences of the Parties (COP) is the primary decision-making authority of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that aims to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The COP is hailed globally for its climate change mitigation efforts, most recently because of the COP27’s agreement to set up a global “Loss and Damage Fund” so as to provide financial assistance for developing countries suffering the effects of climate change. G-77, the coalition of developing countries at the COP27 was led by Pakistan, proceeding the devastating summer floods of the country in 2022. The G-77 has been pushing for a monetary reparations fund for many years, hence the Loss and Damage Fund is a monumental development that has the potential to significantly aid developing countries.
As the date for the COP28 approaches, the road ahead for Pakistan is to evaluate climate risk in terms of not only economic loss, but also challenges to people’s lives and livelihoods.
Secondly, the concept of reparations through monetary compensation is flawed as it fails to account for the damage to the indigenous land and its people. It reduces the effect of climate change to economic losses. Although, this is useful in its own regard as Pakistan has suffered estimated economic losses of up to $40 billion and requires significant funding to adapt to the climate catastrophe. But the causes for these extreme climate disasters must be interrogated. With Pakistan’s insignificant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is still one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. This instead allows Pakistan to shift the focus of the causes for these disasters to the countries that have an abundantly high and significantly rising production of carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption. The framework for the Loss and Damage Fund is grounded on developed countries accounting for their role in the climate disaster, which is useful in acknowledging that they need to alter their practices. However, a purely financial model for compensation does not account for the social damage and loss of lives that have occurred as a result of climate change disasters. At COP27, there was no concrete agreement on how this climate risk can be reduced through significant reduction of carbon emissions by the major producers such as the United States, China and India. This undermines the importance of long-term changes in economic and social practices so that carbon emissions can be greatly reduced, which is the primary aim of the COPs in the first place.
It is also important to establish a concrete transparency and accessibility mechanism for managing the Loss and Damage Fund to ensure fairness and inclusivity.
As the date for COP28 approaches, the road ahead for Pakistan is to evaluate climate risk in terms of not only economic loss, but also challenges to people’s lives and livelihoods. Pakistan must play its part in order to access the available climate finance that its citizens desperately need. At the same time, COP28 must elaborate on the various mechanisms that are required for access to climate finance including action items relating to eligibility criteria, resources that are required, technology and procedures. These action items would enable Pakistan to formulate a team to operationalize these mechanisms and meet the eligibility criteria to gain access to the Loss and Damage Fund.
It is also important to establish a concrete transparency and accessibility mechanism for managing the Loss and Damage Fund to ensure fairness and inclusivity. The main recommendation that should be made at COP28 is to allow local and vulnerable groups be given access to finance directly, so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their local land and meet their immediate needs; as they are most aware of what they need in order to mitigate and adapt to climate risk. The government should hence set up necessary institutions to bring the needs of the most marginalized to light and provide them the resources they need to request climate finance. This would be helpful in reducing climate risk to local populations because often vulnerable groups’ needs are not integrated into climate mitigation plans.
With these recommendations, the Loss and Damage Fund of COP27 will be made more effective and there will be significant potential for Pakistan to reap the benefits of its financial support.
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