Global Shield

Published November 21, 2022

IT is encouraging to note that Pakistan’s campaign at COP27 to present its case as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change has yielded results. We have now been named among seven other nations that will benefit from the ‘Global Shield’ initiative announced at the summit last Monday. The initiative, being hailed as a “path-breaking effort”, aims to quickly unlock pre-arranged financial support for countries hit by climate disasters. Global Shield funding is to be separate from any support pledged to cover damages and losses by developed nations to countries facing climate devastation. As its name indicates, this initiative will only aim to ensure that the people most vulnerable to climate disasters are shielded from most of its immediate effects.

For Pakistan, Global Shield has a different kind of worth than whatever funding it may bring in. It is important to understand why. Global Shield funding will be provided to countries to fund protective nets, such as means to cover lost livelihoods, social protection, livestock and crop insurance, property insurance, business interruption insurance, and so forth. Global Shield will also help sub-national governments, humanitarian agencies, and NGOs develop instruments that can ensure that they have money available as soon as it is needed and then are able to spend it on what is needed most. Integrating proactively with Global Shield can help our policymakers understand the various areas exposed to climate change and then develop and roll out insurance plans that can best cover and mitigate those risks. This is an area we have significantly lagged behind on, as our disaster ‘planning’ seems more focused on recovering damages and losses once a catastrophe has occurred rather than on planning ahead for the changing climate and taking broad-ranging steps to protect against the threats it is expected to bring. Pakistan will still need tens of billions of dollars to become resilient to the vagaries of environmental change; meanwhile, initiatives like Global Shield can greatly help orient us in the right direction.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2022

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