Imran urges serious, joint efforts to tackle climate change

Published October 26, 2021
RIYADH: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz on the sidelines of the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on Monday.—APP
RIYADH: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz on the sidelines of the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on Monday.—APP

• Says 10pc countries responsible for 80pc carbon emissions
• ‘Not a good time’ for talks with India after T20 victory
• Meets Bahrain premier, discusses fight against climate change with John Kerry

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that 10 per cent countries are responsible for 80 per cent of the world carbon emissions and Pakistan is one of the most affected countries by greenhouse gases.

At the launch of the Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, on Monday, PM Khan highlighted the need for collective efforts of the entire world for taking the challenge (of climate change) more seriously.

Besides Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the MGI Summit was addressed by leaders and representatives of various countries including Kuwait, Algeria, the United Kingdom, Greece, Jordan, Russia, Morocco, Qatar, Iraq and Yemen.

The premier told the gathering that unfortunately Pakistan, being among the 10 most vulnerable countries, had faced 150 harsh weather events during the last 10 years with an economic impact of over $3.8 billion.The economic cost of climate change to be faced by Pakistan in the coming years was estimated between $6 billion and $14 billion, he added.

Mr Khan, in his address, also talked about the measures taken by his government, including the project of 10 billion trees plantation, to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Pak-India relations

Referring to Pakistan-India relations, the prime minister expressed the desire to initiate peace talks with India but said the time was not favourable for talks due to comprehensive victory of Pakistani cricket team against India in T-20 World Cup being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He said that after Pakistan’s emphatic win against India in the T20 World Cup, it was “not a good time” for such a conversation. “Somehow we improve our relation with India, but I know after last night thrashing by Pakistan in the cricket match it is not a very good time to talk about improving relations,” the prime minister said.

Addressing the Pakistan-Saudi Investment Forum in Riyadh, Mr Khan spoke about Pakistan’s growth potential and highlighted the country’s youth, strategic location and relations with India.

Kashmir was the only issue because of which the relations of two countries could not normalize, he said. “If we like two civilized neighbours resolve this issue. It is all about human rights of people of Kashmir guaranteed by the United Nations. If these rights are given then we have no problem,” he declared.

Imran hails deep-rooted ties with Bahrain

Earlier, on the sidelines of the summit, the prime minister had a meeting with his counterpart in the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa.

The two prime ministers expressed satisfaction at the close cooperation between the two fraternal countries in diverse fields, according to an official press release issued by the PM Office. They discussed a range of issues including latest developments in Afghanistan.

Mr Khan said Pakistan and Bahrain had historic and deep-rooted fraternal ties. Recalling his visit to Bahrain in December 2019, the premier called for regular high-level exchanges to reinforce the growing momentum in bilateral relations.

The crown prince underlined that Bahrain deeply valued its relationship with Pakistan and was committed to upgrade it in all dimensions.

Mr Khan said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was of crucial importance for Pakistan and the region. Sustained and positive engagement of the international community was critical for preventing a humanitarian crisis, averting an economic collapse, and supporting long-term development and stability in Afghanistan, he said. He also underscored the importance of release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets to help the Afghan people.

The two prime ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in myriad fields and maintain close consultation on all issues of mutual interest.

PM Khan renewed his invitation to Prince Salman for visit to Pakistan. The crown prince conveyed his resolve to undertake the visit at the earliest opportunity.

Kerry meets PM

Also, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, met Prime Minister Khan in Riyadh on the sidelines of the MGI Summit.

Highlighting the priority attached by his government to climate change, the premier reiterated the need to reinforce national and global emphasis against this existential threat. He shared his perspective with the special envoy on challenges faced by Pakistan and other developing countries due to climate change, while highlighting Pakistan’s experience of launching nature-based solutions to address the environmental challenges.

Mr Kerry agreed that Pakistan and the US shared a longstanding relationship, which should be further reinforced in areas of mutual convergence, including climate and environment. He acknowledged various initiatives undertaken by Pakistan to fight climate change.

Discussing the priority attached by the US to the issue of climate change, the special envoy briefed Mr Khan on various measures undertaken by the Biden administration for developing a broad global consensus on climate action in the run-up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP-26), which would be held from Oct 31 to Nov 12.

The prime minister underscored that Pakistan and the United States should continue sharing ideas, expertise and technology to optimize mutually beneficial opportunities in the fight against climate change.

He also encouraged the special envoy to explore the possibility of enhanced bilateral engagement through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support investment in climate mitigation, resilience, and adaptation in Pakistan and the developing world.

The two sides agreed to work in close coordination to determine next steps in building an effective framework of cooperation in this regard.

In the regional context, Mr Khan highlighted the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and urged the international community to work pragmatically to preserve peace and security by averting humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan. He asked the international community to positively engage the Afghan leadership and release economic resources and frozen Afghan assets for the welfare of the people.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2021

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