António Guterres calls world attention towards Pak floods’ devastation n Says he always offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on Kashmir issue n Pakistan witnessing ‘unprecedented natural disaster n Lauds govt, army and NGOs for working together in a ‘remarkable way’ n PM says Pakistan needs world support for rehabilitation.

ISLAMABAD    -   United Nations (UN) Secre­tary-General António Guterres has said that Pakistan is one of the states that are paying heavy price in terms of climate change despite its minimal contribution to the phenomenon.

“Pakistan’s contribution to cli­mate change is very little but it is one of the most dramatical­ly impacted by the consequenc­es of climate change,” Guterres said during a briefing at the Na­tional Flood Response Coordina­tion Centre (NFRCC) along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here yesterday.

The UN Secretary appealed to the international community for extending maximum financial help to undertake rescue and re­lief efforts as well as to meet the emerging challenge of rehabili­tation and reconstruction in the aftermath of devastation caused by recent floods in the country.

He said the world needed to am­plify its assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the natural disaster.

UN Secretary General Anto­nio Guterres said that especially, the countries that make most of the emissions should do justice by providing massive support to the people of Pakistan to meet this calamity.

He urged the global communi­ty to mobilize everything possi­ble to support the people of Pa­kistan as they have lost their houses, jobs, and crops.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Shar­if thanked the Secretary Gener­al for visiting the flood-affected people of Pakistan, who are fac­ing devastation and destruction due to the negative impact of cli­mate change.

The UN Secretary-General be­sides urging support for flood relief assistance also empha­sized debt support for Pakistan to help the country overcome numerous challenges including economic stability.

Guterres, who had earlier launched a global appeal to raise $160 million for the flood-affect­ed people of Pakistan, said joint efforts were required to help the country overcome the conse­

Chief quences of climate change.

Pakistan, he said, despite its little contribution to climate change was bearing the nega­tive effects of the phenomenon of natural disasters.

He said it was absolutely es­sential for other countries, par­ticularly those contributing to carbon emissions, to mobilize resources for Pakistan follow­ing the devastating monsoon.

“Today, it is Pakistan and to­morrow it could be any other country. Mobilizing resources for Pakistan is a matter of jus­tice,” he said. He said Pakistan was witnessing an “unprece­dented natural disaster” and lauded the government, army, and NGOs for working together in a “remarkable way”.

Guterres said he would con­tinue to raise his voice for the Pakistani government and peo­ple who were grappling with difficult situations amid floods.

“Pakistan is in my heart as I have worked with this coun­try for 17 years while the na­tion extended enormous gen­erosity to Afghan refugees for decades,” he said. PM Shehbaz Sharif said, “We are very grate­ful for the solidarity demon­strated by you as 33 million people suffer dire conditions in the wake of heavy floods.”

Earlier, the UN Secretary Gen­eral called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Several mem­bers of the federal cabinet joined the meeting.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister highlighted that Paki­stan was facing floods of epic proportions, which were a dreadful manifestation of cli­mate-induced natural disaster. He outlined the extensive res­cue and relief efforts being un­dertaken by the Government, in collaboration with UN agencies, international community and humanitarian organizations, to reach out to the deeply affect­ed over 33 million people across the country. He highlighted that Secretary-General Guterres’s visit to Pakistan demonstrated strong solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this critical time. The Prime Minister appreciated the Secretary-General’s strong support and advocacy for mobi­lizing international assistance, including for the $ 160 million UN “Flash Appeal” to fund Paki­stan’s Flood Response Plan.

He recalled that, with less than 1% of global carbon emissions, Pakistan was among those least responsible for global warming.

“Yet, it was among the top ten countries most severely impact­ed by climate change,” he said.

The Prime Minister stressed that, in the spirit of climate jus­tice, Pakistan merited support from the international com­munity, especially the indus­trialized countries, to respond to this climate calamity and to recover and rebuild with en­hanced resilience.

The two leaders also dis­cussed Pakistan’s plans for the phase of rehabilitation of the flood affected population and reconstruction of areas devas­tated by floods.

The Prime Minister empha­sized Pakistan’s resolve to build resilience against future climate shocks including through vari­ous projects on adaptation and mitigation with adequate sup­port from the UN system and other international partners.

Recalling his long associa­tion with Pakistan, the Sec­retary-General conveyed his enormous appreciation for the people of Pakistan. The Secre­tary General emphasized that it was not merely about solidarity but a question of justice.

He said that apart from the massive support required for rehabilitation and reconstruc­tion, the whole issue of climate change needed to be addressed with the kind of urgency, seri­ousness and responsibilities that it deserved.

Later, speaking at a joint news conference with Foreign Minis­ter Bilawal Bhutto Zardari here after their meeting, the UN Sec­retary General invited the world attention towards Pakistan floods’ devastation.

He said the UN was on ground to support the flood-hit people with the teams providing food and other emergency supplies.

“What we have done is but a drop in the ocean for the people. Pakistan needs massive interna­tional support for relief and re­habilitation,” he maintained.

The UN chief called for bring­ing the climate change issue on the international agenda.

“For me it is very emotional to see the people of Pakistan suf­fering at the hands of climate change. Helping the people of Pakistan is not a matter of sol­idarity but a matter of justice,” the UN chief said.

In his comments, FM Bilaw­al called the situation a climate catastrophe. “Considering the magnitude of the destruction, Pakistan is unable to get funds required to meet shelter, cloth­ing and food for the 35 million flood-stricken people,” he add­ed. The FM said the flood sur­vivors were also at the risk of waterborne disease besides vi­ruses and bacteria.

He said as the country was yet going through the rescue and relief phase, a gigantic challenge of rebuilding the people’s hous­es, schools and infrastructure was ahead. “When we have a 100km lake that has developed in the middle of Pakistan, tell me how big of a drain can I build to manage this? Where do I build a dam which can withhold & drain a 100km wide lake? There is no man made struc­ture that can evacuate this wa­ter,” he maintained. To a ques­tion, the UN chief said he always offered to mediate between Pa­kistan and India on Kashmir is­sue which was not accepted by India calling it a bilateral issue.

Earlier, FM Bilawal held a meeting with the UN chief. Both the leaders held a meeting to discuss the grave humanitarian situation in the flood-hit areas of the country.

They also exchanged views on dealing with climate crisis, mo­bilization of climate finance and funds for reconstruction, reha­bilitation and adaptation in the wake of floods in Pakistan, the foreign ministry said. The Sec­retary-General will also be trav­elling to areas most impacted by the floods as part of his visit.