Delayed climate justice is a death sentence for the vulnerable: Sherry Rehman

Wed 09 Nov 2022 | 6:19 p.m.

“There is now a race against time to adapt to the climate crisis, and those with better resources will adapt faster, while for others it will be delayed. In every country, the vulnerable will be the first to fall, and we are here to remind that delaying climate justice for the vulnerable subjects them to a death sentence,” said Senator Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Climate Change, senator at the Pakistan Pavilion at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The senator was speaking at a panel discussion entitled “The Lost & the Damaged: Pakistan’s Climate Catastrophe”, and was joined by Vicente Paolo, G77 Loss and Damage Thematic Coordinator, Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Bol Stiftung, Amb . Shafqat Kakakhel, President, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, and Paul V. Desanker, Adaptation Program Manager, UNFCCC. The panel was moderated by environmental lawyer and activist Ahmad Rafay Alam.

Senator Sherry Rehman said her agenda at COP27 is to ensure that loss and damage goes beyond a “bumper sticker” slogan for the Global South, and that an agreement is reached. broken with parts of the Global North. In response to a question about expectations for loss and damage negotiations, Senator Rehman said that these are political decisions waiting to be made by the parties to the negotiations and not based on convenience. financial or economic. “Now is the time to ask for clarity and timelines. We cannot pivot the whole of COP27 on contradictory demand, which is why we have not gotten into reparations. We are looking to build a consensus because the whole system depends on it since each country has a right of veto Without prejudice to the longer term objectives, our request is that there should be enough appetite for us to agree on the part of the countries of the South, who are literally on the edge of a perilous new frontline of climate risk. It is time for us too to pull ourselves together without having to wait for someone else to define it for us,” he said. she stated.

Former Pakistani Ambassador and SDPI Chairman Shafqat Kakahel highlighted the obstacles in the way of loss and damage that needed to be addressed. “The first hurdle will be how we define loss and damage; some of the losses are irretrievable and irreplaceable, such as loss of life, land and livelihoods, while damage is what can be brought back. There has never been a comprehensive definition that would encompass all areas, because only after such a definition will we be able to see how the international community deals with loss and damage,” he explained. Amb. Kakakhel observed that the main reason for the lack of definition is a lack of political will in developed countries to formulate commitments, and the aim of which has instead been to ensure that developing countries reduce their carbon emissions. .

At the invitation of Mr. Md. Shahab Uddin, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of Bangladesh and Chairman of the Board of the South Asia Cooperation Environmental Program (SACEP), the Senator Sherry Rehman also attended the South Asia Environment Ministers Meeting. One Voice in South Asia’. Highlighting environmental commonalities among South Asian countries, she said floods and droughts will cost the region $215 billion, which is a conservative estimate. “The fact that climate knows no boundaries should calm our minds; this requires a constant intensification of cross-border cooperation. We share so much in South Asia, but it seems we only share climate calamity. We need to share knowledge, data platforms, best practices, experiences and plans to move forward together and fight our way out of humanity’s most important challenge,” she said. India’s climate change minister did not attend the meeting.

The Minister also spoke at a panel discussion at the UNFCCC pavilion titled “Transforming Finance Commitments into Net Zero Action in Asia-Pacific” where she highlighted Pakistan’s Living Indus initiative, which aims to save rivers from climate and human impacts, creating plastic-free cities. and resilient agriculture. The Initiative has the potential to reinvent the ecology, employment and productivity of the whole country by transforming green jobs, recycling and detoxification of the Indus River.

Finally, the Minister also spoke at the UNFCCC Regional Forum on Climate Finance on the topic of “Climate Projects: From Concepts to Reality in the Space for Action”, where she once again highlighted the importance of the Living Indus Initiative, and that the Indus River is the jugular vein of Pakistan’s economy and civilization. The Initiative is based on a “live” menu of 25 interventions, from the largest to the smallest, and it seeks to involve communities in its implementation to make it inclusive and ensure its sustainability.

Elna M. Lemons