PM Shehbaz apprises world leaders of flood crisis in Pakistan on sidelines of UNGA session

Published September 21, 2022
<p>Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. — Photo by PM’s Office</p>

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. — Photo by PM’s Office

<p>Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets US Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry in New York on Wednesday. — Photo by Government of Pakistan/Twitter</p>

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets US Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry in New York on Wednesday. — Photo by Government of Pakistan/Twitter

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, apprised them of the flood crisis in Pakistan, it emerged on Wednesday.

The premier highlighted the need for collective action to deal with climate change. “I also told them that Pakistan is keen to build partnerships in the realms of trader and economy,” he said in a tweet.

Among the leaders the prime minister met was US Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry.

The two leaders discussed the devastating floods in Pakistan, the $55 million provided by the US in assistance so far, and the “urgent need to work together” to fight the climate crisis and prevent future tragedies, Kerry said in a tweet.

“My heart goes out to the affected communities and the Pakistani people,” he added.

The prime minister also met International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva who expressed deep sympathy for Pakistan and its people.

“The IMF will continue to support Pakistan under the current program to help ease the pain of the Pakistani people,” Georgieva said in a tweet.

Later in the day, PM Shehbaz held a meeting with World Bank President David Malpass and told him about the climate crises in Pakistan.

Apart from meeting other leaders, the prime minister will attend a dinner reception to be hosted by US President Joe Biden.

Meetings with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, UNSG Antonio Guterres, Chinese President Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will also be a part of PM Shehbaz’s engagements.

Pakistan requires huge investment for climate resilience: FM Bilawal

Separately, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in a meeting with Scott Nathan, the head of the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) — a US agency that invests money in lower and middle-income countries, highlighted the need for leveraging the private sector in building disaster resilience covering infrastructure development, renewable energy, livelihood and businesses for women, and rejuvenation of agriculture.

He underlined that Pakistan would require a “huge investment” to develop climate resilience.

Bilawal said that mobilising additional capital through institutions such as DFC, including through coordinated efforts with other development finance institutions, was imperative to ensure that we adequately address the challenge of climate change.

Furthermore, he briefed the DFC head on the devastating floods in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan’s efforts to manage the crisis. He expressed gratitude for the flood relief assistance provided by the US government.

In his response, Nathan reaffirmed DFC’s interest in collaborating with Pakistan’s private sector and assured continued engagement to identify projects ready for investment by US Corporate sector.

The foreign minister, subsequently, invited Nathan to visit Pakistan, who accepted the invitation.

Reversal of Indian unilateral actions in IIOJK

Later in the day, in an address at the 12th Ministerial Meeting of the UN Group of Friends of Mediation on ‘Avoiding Humanitarian Crises Through Mediation’, Bilawal urged the UN chief to avail the full panoply of mediatory measures to persuade India to reverse its unilateral measures in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The Security Council should give full support to the secretary-general in using his good offices to this end, he said.

The minister pointed out that nearly 77 years after the signing of the Charter, the challenges and threats to peace and security were perhaps more complex, but the Charter’s purposes and principles remained valid and immutable.

“It is imperative to reaffirm our commitment and confidence in these principles and to promote solutions to disputes and conflicts, between large and small States, on the basis of these principles,” Bilawal remarked.

He also told the participants that Jammu and Kashmir dispute was one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the Council.

“Unfortunately, over the last 7 decades, India obstructed the efforts of the UN mechanisms to implement the UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. The continuation of India’s illegal actions was manifested in the unilateral measures taken on and since 5 August 2019 to annex the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir without even the fig leaf of legal justification or plebiscite,” Bilawal added.

‘Pakistan drowning in debt’

At the opening UNGA session yesterday, PM Shehbaz urged the international community to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis as the UN chief highlighted that Pakistan was not just drowning in floodwater but also in debt.

“I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the country is submerged by a ‘monsoon on steroids’,” said the UN chief during a forceful address to world leaders gathered for the opening day of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.

Guterres repeated the appeal he first made during his recent visit to Pakistan where he urged lenders to consider debt reduction to help those nations that were facing a possible economic collapse.

He urged the lenders to set up “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, including middle-income countries, in debt distress”.

Meanwhile, at the welcome reception on Tuesday, the prime minister interacted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Spain Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi.

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