The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging donor nations and institutions to provide full support to rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan.
“The scaling calamities in Pakistan can linger for years. Massive guidance and support to the government of Pakistan are absolutely essential,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres, while speaking in favour of the resolution.
The resolution, co-sponsored by 159 countries, urges the international community, “in particular donor countries, international financial institutions and relevant international organisations, as well as the private sector and civil society, to extend full support and assistance to Pakistan in its efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of the floods and to meet the medium- and long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction needs”.
“Countries, like Pakistan, which confront such climate-induced disasters, should not be left to fend for themselves,” said Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram in his address to the General Assembly. “We must construct global mechanisms that can enable climate-struck countries to access resources to mitigate the impacts of the ever more frequent and more intense climate disasters and to recover quickly from such disasters,” he said.
Recalling his recent visit to Pakistan, the UN chief said he did not only see the devastations caused by the floods. “I saw the best of humanity. I saw the immense generosity and solidarity of neighbours and strangers helping one another,” he said. “So, people themselves have risked and lost all their worldly possessions to rescue others.”
The secretary general recalled that on Oct 4, the UN launched a revised plan for collecting $816 million to help the flood victims in Pakistan. “I urge donor countries, international financial institutions, and other relevant international organisations, along with the private sector and civil society, to fully support these efforts,” Mr Guterres said.
During an earlier UNGA debate on the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate-inducted disasters, Pakistan called for an early solution to the debt distress of nearly 60 developing countries through effective operation of international agreements and bilateral arrangements.
Pakistan specifically called for implementing the G-20 Common Framework, which addresses the problem of unsustainable debts faced by many developing nations.
Recent reports by various financial institutions acknowledge that about 60 per cent of low-income countries are at high risk or already in debt distress. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published a list of 73 countries that face debt-related vulnerabilities.
At Thursday’s debate, Pakistan warned that more than 50 developing countries faced debt distress, and many may be obliged to default, as climate change continues to take its heavy toll. Pakistan, speaking for the Group of 77 (developing countries) and China, also called for a clear roadmap to overcome the recent series of “shocks” to the world economy.
“The unequal impacts have been accompanied by a deficit in solidarity — as visible on vaccine availability and the liquidity support — $17 trillion generated in the richer, less than $100 billion for the developing world,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the General Assembly Second Committee, which deals with economic and financial matters.
Pakistan is the current chairman of G-77 and China, which now has 134 members and is the United Nations’ biggest intergovernmental group of emerging countries.
As a consequence, Ambassador Khan said, poverty has enlarged — over 100 million pushed back into extreme poverty, with the developing countries now facing the triple challenge of meeting their needs for food, fuel and finance.
The resolution adopted on Friday recognised that “enhanced access to international climate finance is important to support mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”.
It emphasised the need for the international community to maintain its focus beyond the present emergency relief, in order to sustain the political will to support the medium- and long-term rehabilitation, reconstruction and risk reduction efforts as well as the adaptation plan led by Pakistan.
It welcomed the proposed convening of a pledging conference to generate assistance and commitments for the long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction phases in the disaster-stricken areas, to be held at the earliest opportunity, and called upon all UN member states to participate at the highest level.
The resolution requested the secretary general and the entities of the United Nations system to continue to support Pakistan in the preparation of a climate-resilient reconstruction plan.
It also urged them to further intensify their efforts to sensitise the international community to the humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction needs of Pakistan and to mobilize effective, immediate, and adequate international support and assistance to Pakistan.