Pakistan urges SCO to prioritise climate action

Published April 19, 2023
Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman represents Pakistan at the 4th Meeting of the Heads of the Ministers and Agencies of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. — APP
Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman represents Pakistan at the 4th Meeting of the Heads of the Ministers and Agencies of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Warning that the sustainability of life on earth and the overall socio-economic development of current and future generations are now under threat, Pakis­tan on Tuesday urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to prioritise climate action.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, representing Pakistan at the 4th Meeting of the Heads of the Ministers and Agencies of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states responsible for environmental protection, emphasised the critical role that the SCO could play at the regional level in achieving shared goals related to environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

She also highlighted the value of the SCO as a forum for member states to share their perspectives on this existential crisis that is now redefining global, regional, and national priorities and responses in the 21st century.

“We all agree that constructive cooperation on climate and enviro­nmental issues is critical to act­i­vely moving the needle and bridging the gap between the pledges and pipelines that we all make multilaterally, as well as the gap between ambitions and actions,” she said.

The minister drew attention to Pakistan’s unique position as one of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change, despite contributing less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. “We are on the front lines of climate change, braving disastrous floods, unlivable heatwaves, and fast-melting glaciers,” said the minister. She highlighted the catastrophic floods that occurred in Pakistan in 2022, which inundated one-third of the country, impacted 33 million people, and caused over US$30 billion in economic losses and damages.

She also said that for Pakistan, climate change has become a high priority on all ministerial agendas, and both the prime minister and foreign minister are actively working to address climate change at the national and global levels.

She shared details about Pakistan’s recent policies and programmes, such as the National Clean Air Policy, the National Hazardous Waste Management Policy, Clean Green Pakistan, the Living Indus Initiative, the creation of new national parks and the expansion of protected areas, and federal-level regulations on plastics.­

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2023

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