Target achieved as donors offer $10b for Pakistan flood recovery

GENEVA/ISLAMABAD          -           The international donors on Monday announced over $10 billion to help Pakistan recover from deadly floods last year, exceeding its external financing goals and paving the way for a new model on raising funds to fight climate disasters in poorer countries. Officials here said Pakistan on Monday secured over $ 10 billion pledges from the international financial institutions, donor agencies and development partners for the rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction of flood affected areas, during an International Conference on Climate Resilience. The major pledges made at the conference, co-chaired by Pakistan and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, included $ 4.2 billion from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), $ 2 billion from the World Bank, $ 1.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), $ 1 billion from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and $ 1 billion from Saudi Arabia. Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions gathered at a meeting in Geneva as Islamabad sought funds to cover around half of a recovery bill amounting to $16.3 billion. At the closing of the conference, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said commitments totaled “more than$9bn”. “Today has truly been a day which gives us great hope. The message from the world is clear: The world will stand by those who go through any natural calamities, and will not leave them alone,” she said. The world community Monday pledged ‘generous support of 8.57 billion dollars’ for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Pakistan’s flood-hit areas at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva. Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb while sharing details of the contributions announced by friendly countries and international institutions on Monday tweeted that the first plenary of day-long Geneva conference culminated in generous outpouring of global community. She said the Islamic Development Bank pledged 4.2 billion dollars, World Bank two billion, the Asian Development Bank 1.5 billion, the European Union 93 million, Germany 88 million, China 100 million, Japan 77 million, USAID 100 million, and France 345 million dollars. Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured complete transparency in the utilisation of funds to be provided by the international community for a Climate Resilient Pakistan. Addressing a joint news conference, along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Geneva on Monday, he said a third-party validation mechanism has been put in place for this purpose. The prime minister said we have already spent four hundred million dollars to provide basic support to 2.7 million households, while 575 million dollars spent on cash in kind support. He said now we have to go for rehabilitation of our infrastructure and enable people rebuild their livelihoods. He said we would generate about eight billion dollars domestically, but we are looking forward for an equal share of eight billion dollars from the international community. He said Pakistan in consultation with its friend’s and institutions presented a comprehensive framework plan for resilient recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction and it includes a robust financial mechanism. Shehbaz Sharif said we look forward working closely with our friends and the people of Pakistan will always remember their support. He thanked the friendly countries and development partners for extending generous support during the conference. In his remarks, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the world community to massively invest in building climate resilient infrastructure in Pakistan. He said Pakistan should also be provided access to technology and knowledge to withstand the future disasters. He expressed the confidence that the Geneva conference will be the beginning of that massive investment. The UN Secretary General said the people of Pakistan has always demonstrated resilience and generosity from enduring the national disasters and terrorism to hosting millions of Afghan refugees. He said this resilience and generosity needs to be matched by the international community. The UN Secretary General renewed his call to the global leaders and multilateral development banks to create ways for developing countries to access debt relief and concessional financing when they needed the most. Antonio Guterres said it is time for meaningful climate action. He said the decisions taken at the climate summit in Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt must be implemented and that the developed countries must deliver on their commitments. ‘A new liFeline’ Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for a sustained international plan to meet the daunting task of reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-affected areas and build a climate resilient Pakistan. Addressing the inaugural session of International Conference on Climate Resilient Infrastructure in Geneva on Monday, he said a new lifeline is need for our people to power our economy and reenter the 21st century with a future that is protected from extreme risks to human security. The Prime Minister said together we have to rebuild the lives and dreams of flood ravaged people. He said the international community’s solidarity and long-term support to Pakistan at this critical juncture will make the difference between staying unprepared or facing the future with renewed hope and aspirations. It is about the solidarity and vision needed to ensure the world’s transition to a sustainable future not on papers but on the ground in schools, in the fields, in business, in industries and in homes. The Prime Minister said his government has prepared a comprehensive framework for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction with resilience. Shehbaz Sharif said the first part of this plan reflects priorities for recovery and reconstruction, bearing in mind the minimum funding requirement of 16.3 billion dollars, half of which is proposed to be met from domestic resources and the other half from development partners and friends. He said the funding gap for minimum recovery is eight billion dollars which will be needed over the next three years. Shehbaz Sharif said the second part of the framework incorporates flood resilience design and infrastructure projects such as protecting key highways, rail line network, an early warning system and capacity building for rescue and relief in future disasters. He said it is clear that Pakistan’s ability to recover from the colossal flood disaster, to restore critical infrastructure and revive rapid economic growth will hinge substantially on the speed of these actions. The most important link in this chain will be financial resourcing and if that gap continues to obstruct our recovery and minimum resilience needs, the results will be too catastrophic to image. ‘Most criticAl phAse oF pAkistAn’ In his remarks at a plenary of the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the support from friendly countries and multilateral donors will not only help carry out flood relief and rehabilitation work but also create fiscal space external debt sustainability for the country and reinforce its efforts to implement the ongoing IMF program. He said Pakistan remains committed to its international obligations and is on track regarding its fiscal reforms agenda which focuses on increasing revenues, decreasing expenditures and creating thereby more fiscal space for the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase which we have to undertake in Pakistan. Dar said Pakistan is carrying out the fiscal reforms necessary for long term recovery and sustainability but we urgently need short term assistance to navigate a number of challenges. He hoped our friends and partners will always stand with Pakistan by providing us the required assistance during this most critical phase of Pakistan. He said options such as debt swaps by friendly countries will also free up resources to be spent for this noble purpose. In his remarks, Representative of UNDP said that apart from reconstruction and rehabilitation, now gigantic task is resurgence of the hope in the people. He said the climate related disasters are becoming new normal. The UNDP Representative said world has an opportunity to choose a new direction with a new innovative model of cooperation. He said Pakistan needs fiscal space to overcome the situation. In her remarks, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said Pakistanis are resilient people but the peril of floods is not over. She pointed out that eight million people still live in inundated areas. The Minister stressed for timely and agile investments to build necessary shields and defenses to better cope with the climate change. She said Pakistan needs both technical support as well as uninterrupted supply of funding resources to rebuild the lives of affected people. Minister for Economic Affairs, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, in his remarks, said the government of Pakistan is looking for significant support of its development partners in rebuilding the country after devastating floods. He said transparency of transferring aid to the victims will be ensured as per the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The Minister thanked all the development partners for their support to the flood-hit people in Pakistan

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