Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing the international conference on floods recovery in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 9, 2023. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Pakistani officials expressed gratitude toward the international community for pledging more than $10 billion to support Pakistan’s flood recovery.

The commitments were made at the International Conference on ‘Climate Resilient Pakistan’ jointly hosted by Pakistan and the UN in Geneva on Monday.

“People of Pakistan will forever remain grateful,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday. He described the conference as a “resounding success” and thanked the heads of state and government, the European Union, and the United Nations for helping Pakistan in times of crisis. “The world witnessed yesterday how the nations can come together in a show of solidarity to create a model of win-win partnership to lift suffering humanity out of tragedy. I was deeply moved by the compassion on display at Geneva Conference.”

Pledges at Geneva conference

Dozens of countries and international institutions pledged more than $9 billion to help Pakistan recover and rebuild from devastating floods that the United Nations chief called “a climate disaster of monumental scale.” The flooding killed more than 1,700 people, affected 33 million people, destroyed more than 2 million homes, and submerged one-third of the country at one time. The country’s post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) and development partners estimated that the economic losses from the floods exceeded $30 billion — 8 per cent of Pakistan’s GDP. The floods pushed an additional 9.1 million people below the poverty line. Pakistan hopes that about half the $30 billion will come from the international community.

Responding to the urgent needs of the flood victims, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) pledged about half the total — $4.2 billion over the next three years. The Asian Development Bank pledged up to $1 billion over the next three years and World Bank pledged $2 billion. Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion for flood recovery efforts. European Union, US, China, France, Germany, Japan and Qatar also announced tens of millions of dollars in new aid for Pakistan.

Total pledges for flood-hit
Islamic Development Bank — $4.2 billion
World Bank — $2 billion
Asian Development Bank — $1.5 billion
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — $1 billion
Saudi Arabia — $1 billion
France — $386 million (€360m)
China — $100m
US — $100m
European Union — $93m (€87m)
Germany: $90m (€84m)
Japan — $77m
Canada — $18.6m
Italy — $24.6m (€23m)
Qatar — $25m
UK — $11.6m (£9.6m)
Sweden — $7.5m
Norway — $6.5m
Azerbaijan — $2m
Netherlands — €3.5m
Denmark — $3.8m

The pledges exceeded Pakistan’s goal. “Today has truly been a day which gives us great hope,” said Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s state minister for foreign affairs. “The message from the world is clear: the world will stand by those who go through any natural calamities and will not leave them alone.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for massive investments to help Pakistan recover from catastrophic floods. “We need to be honest about the brutal injustice of loss and damage suffered by developing countries because of climate change,” Guterres told the gathering. “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.”

World leaders respond to Pakistan’s floods appeal

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and UN chief Guterres attended the one-day gathering in person. World leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and EU European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, joined virtually.

France — Macron said France was allocating some $385 million (€‎360 million) to the French development agency to help Pakistan to rebuild and adapt to climate change.

Germany — Germany said it will provide $90 million (€84m) that will be used to finance projects like the construction of rainwater retention basins and drainage systems to protect people from flooding during heavy rain. Berlin had already pledged about $71.6 million to rebuild infrastructure after the worst flooding in Pakistan. “It is crucial that we do not limit our assistance to Pakistan’s immediate recovery efforts but also assist Pakistan in adapting better to climate change and putting adaptation on a sustained basis,” Germany’s State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth said.

EU — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union was contributing 500 million euros toward Pakistan’s reconstruction and announced a fresh 10 million euros in humanitarian assistance. The EU also announced EUR87 million in funding as part of the EU’s support to Pakistan in post-flood rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Turkey — Speaking at the gathering, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined that Turkey vowed to continue to support affected Pakistanis through its Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). He said that Turkey has already dispatched 7,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid materials on 15 flights, 13 trains, and two ships.

United States — USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman announced that the United States is pledging an additional $100 million to continue supporting Pakistan’s recovery efforts from the devastating 2022 floods and address the climate crisis. This brings the total US commitment to $200 million including the $97 million in flood relief, disaster resilience, and food security assistance provided in 2022 and $4.8 million in financial support.

Canada — Canada’s Minister of International Development Harjit S. Sajjan announced that Canada has committed an additional CAD$25 million ($18.6 million) in funding in response to the flooding in Pakistan, which will support development projects focused on recovery, reconstruction, and resilience.