Pakistan vulnerable to climate change: WB

KARACHI    -   “Pakistan is highly vulnerable to worsening climate change; build­ing resilience is key to avoiding poverty increases, otherwise, there is a significant probability of more frequent and intense events such as droughts, floods, and sea level rise.” This was disclosed by a World Bank high-power del­egation led by its Regional Direc­tor for Sustainable Development (SD), South Asia, Mr. John A. Roome who met with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at CM House. 

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, the chief secretary, the chairman P&D, and others. Through a presentation, the world bank’s regional director for South Asia told the meeting about the report that Pakistan’s recent poverty reduction was fragile due to macro-fiscal vulner­abilities and low, volatile growth. The report said that the reduced extreme poverty due to off-farm economic and foreign remittanc­es, growth in per capita GDP has been volatile and low. The struc­tural issues, including circular debt, large and unproductive sub­sidy regimes, and inadequate tax collection adds to fiscal stress and constrained investment in human capital, basic infrastructure, and services. According to the report Pakistan has been a low GHG emitter, but there are opportuni­ties in Pakistan’s own interests to decarbonize the economy. Paki­stan contributed less than one per cent of total Green House Gases emissions between 1990-2018. The GHG emissions per capita are low; about one-third of the global average. GHG emissions per GDP are decreasing but at a lower rate than the global average. The GHG emissions are growing fast due to population increases and eco­nomic growth, therefore focus may be made to significant de­carbonization options in industry, power, and transport that deliver local co-benefits. Climate change is already having devastating ef­fects on the country. The unprec­edented floods brought one-third of the country under water, and caused 1,700 casualties, affecting around 33 million people, there­fore Pakistan needs $16 billion to recover. According to the report, the 2022 floods will likely hamper progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Pakistan by 2030. Some 8.4 to 9.1 million people would be pushed into poverty, and 6 to 7 million people would fall further behind. Additional 7.6 million people face food security, 17 million women and children are at greater risk of prevent­able diseases, 4.,3 million people would face job loss or disruption and 640,000 women and girls are at risk of GBV and child mar­riage. The post-flood presents a significant opportunity for build­ing long-term and systematic re­silience. The report suggests that an inclusive and resilient recovery through a `whole Pakistan ap­proach leads to sustainable devel­opment for the people and coun­try. The pillars of the recovery, according to the report, include the restoration of jobs and liveli­hoods, recovery and reconstruc­tion of critical assets, services, and infrastructure, and strengthening government and stakeholder ca­pacity for reconstruction, espe­cially communities. Building re­silience to these compound risks will require a strong pivot of the economy towards a development pathway that can sustain and strengthen equitable growth and limit the impact of climate change-related physical, transitional, and financial risks. The chief minister directed his P&D team to study the WB report and recommen­dations and then frame its own development plan in light of the report so that the province could be steered out of poverty through sustainable development.

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