Pakistan Senator Sherry Rehman
Sherry said the effects of climate change had a severe impact on Pakistan and termed climate change was rapidly changing its scale almost with every passing year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Friday said Pakistan was at the forefront of the most impacted countries due to climate change and collective efforts were needed at national and international levels to tackle this challenge.

She was delivering keynote address at the launch of the World Bank Pakistan Country Climate and Development report.

The WB report highlights the country’s vulnerabilities due to climate change and opportunities in shifting its development and policy paradigm to address climate mitigation and adaptation for achieving sustainable development.

Sherry said the effects of climate change had a severe impact on Pakistan and termed climate change was rapidly changing its scale almost with every passing year.

It requires a serious reset in the climate finance system to tackle the 21st century crisis of environmental degradation, she said.

Senator Rehman said climate change and development were common problems of the world, whereas the environment was changing faster than planned.

She said that global emissions continued to rise at a massive rate today, adding, “We need collective action as climate change cannot be tackled alone by one country or region.”

“Climate change is happening faster than we think. Pakistan accounts for less than one per cent of carbon emissions,” the minister said.

The federal ministry, she said, was making climate change policy and giving it to the provinces whereas the provinces should make their own laws in in view of their needs.

The government had also launched the National Clean Air Policy, she added.

About the last year’s disastrous floods, she said the floods of 2022 created the worst kind of human tragedy.

The government of Pakistan distributed an amount of Rs70 billion (Dh912 million) to the flood victims as Rs25,000 (Dh325) per family was given through Benazir Income Support Programme, the Minister said.

“We saw humanitarian crises during floods and other climate change events in 2022. We have many lessons to learn from last year’s environmental disasters,” Sherry Rehman said.

The role of the Federal Ministry of Climate Change was to deliver national policies, and legislation should not be confused with policies as the provinces had to make their own laws as per their needs.

‘Financial as well as climate crisis’

“Pakistan is facing a financial crisis also and the World Bank has an important role to play in dealing with climate change finance.

Pakistan needs $348 billion for climate adaptation and mitigation by 2030. Even if Pakistan goes completely green, our emissions will not affect the global climate,” Sherry Rehman said.

The minister added that the country was not among the big carbon emissions emitters, yet it did not have the world’s attention.

“Geneva conference was a great success, but when funding comes, another disaster on the ground could hit. I urge the World Bank and other financial institutions to reconsider the eco-finance system,” Sherry Rehman ended.

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, SAPM Muhammad Jehanzaib Khan, and others also addressed the report launching ceremony.