Saturday
24 February | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Climate change breaking records while collective action falls short

‘The international financial architecture must be restructured to make climate finance more accessible to developing nations’

As we approach the Global Stocktake at COP28, I see global records being broken by climate change, while actions taken to match pledges fall short. We’re in a race against time, and gatherings are crucial in dispelling the growing climate cynicism that has taken hold across the world, particularly among the young people. However, it’s imperative that we move beyond talk and actually take action, especially in the case of countries and big businesses that fail to align with global carbon budgets and our Paris Agreement goals. For our part, Pakistan is aligned with the commitments of the Paris Agreement, and we look forward to a real change in the glacial pace of climate finance, adaptation and mitigation in our collective efforts.

We can observe that Pakistan and other developing countries are actually facing climate catastrophe and also facing significant obstacles in securing the necessary funding to meet their climate goals. While developed countries received 52% of climate finance in 2022, developing economies only received 48%, despite representing 80% of the world population. This is particularly alarming as developing countries, including Pakistan, have limited access to international climate finance. Pakistan requires $348 billion between 2022 and 2030, representing 10.7% of its cumulative GDP, to meet its climate needs. According to the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance, 78 developing countries that have submitted their nationally determined contributions require a staggering $6 trillion until 2030 to meet their financial requirements under the Paris Agreement.

‘The slogan that we should “leave no one behind” will become meaningless if accessing climate finance remains out of reach for developing countries’

A clear definition of the climate finance is essential for transparency and accountability in distribution and use of the finance. The international financial architecture must be restructured to make climate finance more accessible to developing nations. The slogan that we should “leave no one behind” will become meaningless if accessing climate finance remains out of reach for developing and vulnerable countries. Most of the developing world is actually being left behind while the gulf between ambitions, pledges and actions continues to grow, bolstered with ambitious language that has less and less to do with climate facts on the ground. Words matter, and they should not be used to normalize inaction, where vaulting targets and pledges sanitize lack of actual action and fulfilment of pledges. The climate justice and equitable adaptation and mitigation efforts are at the heart of this discourse.

The principle of the UNFCCC – common but differentiated responsibilities – obligates developed countries to provide new, additional, adequate, and sustained financial resources to developing countries. Before states get to COP28, we must resolve crucial queries related to the recently created Loss and Damage (L&D) Fund and prioritize funding gaps in the global financial infrastructure. We can provide an outline for COP28, underlining importance of preventing developing countries from being trapped in financial debts and dependencies while addressing climate injustice, and that the Global Stock Take (GST) provides a chance to assess progress and make recommendations for the right financial set-up for climate action; the need to bridge individual JET-Ps to regional mechanisms, enhance access to concessional financing for climate-vulnerable countries, re-channel more Special Drawing Rights, and boost the financial firepower of the multilateral development banks.

It is the collective responsibility of the global community to act with urgency and take the required steps to tackle the climate change to ensure a sustainable future for all. We must act now because the cost of inaction is alarming, projected to reach up to $23 trillion by 2050. The time is now to take action to mitigate the impacts of the climate change and build a resilient and sustainable future for all. Alongside Germany, the United Arab Emirates is hosting the next global climate conference from November 30 to December 10 in Dubai.

Senator Sherry Rehman is Federal Minister for Climate Change & Environmental Coordination. Jarida Daily is sharing her statement during ministerial dialogue at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin

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