Pakistan needs $16.8bn for rehabilitation of flood-affected areas, PM Shehbaz tells Geneva moot

Shehbaz - The News Today - TNT

GENEVA: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said Pakistan will need $16.8 billion for the rehabilitation of flood-affected areas and that a framework had been prepared for the purpose.

Addressing the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva, the premier said floods left key infrastructure badly damaged.

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Earlier, the United Nation secretray-general Antonio Gueteress also addressed the conference and appealed to the world to help Pakistan deal with the disaster caused by cataclysmic floods, saying “massive investments” are needed for the country’s rehabilitation which is expected to cost more than $16 billion.

Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions are gathering for a meeting in Geneva as Islamabad seeks support in what is expected to be a major test case for who pays for climate disasters.

September’s floods, which are still receding, killed at least 1,700 people and displaced around 8 million.

“We must match the heroic response of the people of Pakistan with our own efforts and massive investments to strengthen their communities for the future,” Guterres said in opening remarks.

“Pakistan is doubly victimized by climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system,” he added, calling for creative ways for developing countries to access debt relief and financing.

At the moot, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also launched the ‘Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Recons­truction Framework’ (4RF).

The framework outlines a vision for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-affected areas as well as will emphasise the need for global support and long-term partnership to implement it.

Addressing the event, PM Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan needs $8 billion from its international partners over the next three years to rebuild the country that is reeling from last year’s devastating floods.

The floods, blamed on climate change, dealt a severe blow to Pakistan’s strained economy while displacing some 8 million people and killing at least 1,700. Rebuilding efforts are now estimated to cost more than $16 billion.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a video message, announced support for Pakistan in its talks with financial institutions and said Paris will in the long term continue to provide expertise and financial support as required by Islamabad.

“France will bring a new contribution of $10 million for Pakistan aid support,” he added.

Pakistan and the United Nations are holding the conference to mobilize international support to help the country recover more effectively from the devastation caused by recent floods.

Additional funding is crucial to Pakistan amid growing concerns about its ability to pay for imports such as energy and food and to meet sovereign debt obligations abroad.

However, it is far from clear where the reconstruction money will come from, especially given difficulties raising funds for the emergency humanitarian phase of the response which is around half funded, according to UN data.

At the COP27 meeting in Egypt in November, Pakistan was at the forefront of efforts that led to the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund to cover climate-related destruction for countries that have contributed less to global warming than wealthy ones.

However, it is not yet known if Pakistan, with a $350 billion economy, will be eligible to tap into that future funding.

Organisers say around 250 people are expected at the event including high-level government officials, private donors and international financial institutions.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Khalil Hashmi, said Islamabad was willing to pay for about half of the bill but hoped for support from donors for the rest. “We will be mobilising international support through various means,” he said. “We look forward to working with our partners.”

Read more: Pakistan to present flood rehabilitation plan at Geneva moot today

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