Skip to main content

Activities of Secretary-General in Pakistan, 9-11 September

With the tragic situation facing millions of men, women and children impacted by historic floods in Pakistan, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres travelled to the country for a solidarity visit from 9 to 11 September.

On Friday, 9 September, he was briefed in Islamabad on the latest developments by Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other senior members of government.

In remarks to the press with the Prime Minister, following a visit to the National Flood Response and Coordination Center, the Secretary-General expressed his solidarity with the Pakistani people and reiterated that the United Nations will do everything possible to mobilize the international community to support Pakistan.

The United Nations has delivered food or cash assistance and emergency supplies, he said, but this is a drop in the ocean of needs.

No country deserves this fate, Mr. Guterres later said during a joint press encounter with Foreign Minister Zardari, and particularly not countries like Pakistan that have done almost nothing to contribute to global warming.

He called on developed countries to step up and provide Pakistan and other countries on the front lines with the financial and technical resources they need to survive extreme weather events like these deadly floods.

The Secretary-General also urged Governments to address loss and damage from the climate crisis at the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) with the seriousness it deserves.  This is not a future event, he added, it is happening now, all around us.

On Saturday, 10 September, the Secretary-General met men, women and children in the areas most impacted by the floods.

Accompanied by Prime Minister Sharif and Foreign Minister Zardari, the Secretary-General travelled by plane and helicopter to Balochistan, where he met families at a camp for displaced people. He also went to Larkana and Sukkur, in Sindh Province.

The Secretary-General said the most emotional moment during this visit was to listen to a group of women and men who abandoned everything to help their neighbours reach safety as their houses flooded.

He paid tribute to the efforts deployed by Pakistani authorities to respond to this disaster, but, he added, the needs are enormous and he called for massive support from the international community. This is not a question of solidarity, he said, it’s a question of justice.

At a press conference in Karachi, at the end of the day, the Secretary-General said he had never seen climate carnage on this scale.

He told journalists that wealthier countries are morally responsible for helping developing countries like Pakistan recover from disasters like this one, but they also need to help them adapt and build resilience to climate impacts.

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Sunday, 11 September.

For information media. Not an official record.