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Pakistan’s Floods Due to Rising Greenhouse Gases Emission, Secretary-General Says, Stressing Financial Support ‘Not a Matter of Generosity’ But Justice

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks during his field visit in Pakistan and following the briefing by Sindh province’s Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, in Sukkur, today:

It is difficult not to feel deeply moved when we hear such a detailed description of tragedy, of the loss of life, of destruction, the loss of property, the loss of livelihoods.  Listening to you I see that there is no loss of hope.  But that hope, to materialize, needs the international community to recognize three basic facts.

First, as you said, humanity has been waging war on nature, and nature strikes back.  But nature strikes back in Sindh, it was not Sindh that has made the emissions of greenhouse gases that have accelerated climate change so dramatically.  So, there is a very unfair situation, in relation to the level of destruction that we are seeing, here, in Sindh.

And so, it is essential for the international community to understand three things, and obviously, developed countries have an absolutely key role to play in international financial institutions joining them.

First is that Pakistan, including Sindh, need today massive financial support to overcome this crisis.  And I’ve been saying — and you repeated it — this is not a matter of generosity, it’s a matter of justice.

Second, we need to stop the madness with which we are treating nature.  According to the scientific community, we need to reduce emissions by 45 per cent until 2030.  I’m not talking about the end of the century; I’m not talking about 2050.  I am talking about now.  Now is the time to reduce emissions.  This will be essential in the discussions in Cairo of the [COP27 — twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change].

But the fact is that we are already living in a world where climate change is acting in such a devastating way.  So, there must be massive support to what usually is called adaptation, which means to build resilient infrastructure and to support resilient communities and to create conditions for those that are in the hotspots of climate change.  Pakistan is one of the hotspots of climate change.  For those countries to be able to prepare for the next disaster and to be able to resist the next disaster, this needs a huge investment and this investment needs to be provided.

That’s why we are asking for a strong increase in the financing for adaptation, of resilient infrastructure.  At the same time, there has not yet, until now, been a serious discussion about conditions for a serious discussion on loss and damage.

And then, I would like to say that what the United Nations is doing in Pakistan is a drop in the ocean of what is needed.  We are perfectly aware of our limited capacity and resources.  But one thing you can be absolutely sure, we are in total solidarity with the Pakistani people.  We will do everything we can not only to use our limited capacities, but to raise awareness and to request those that have the capacity to support Pakistan — to request that they do it, they do it now, they do it massively, and that they do it also looking into the preparation of this country to face future challenges, to be able to protect the population when those future challenges are coming.

Our commitment, our very strong and emotional solidarity is something you can count on.  Thank you very much.

For information media. Not an official record.