BONN - Awkward situation was witnessed at an international forum of climate when Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan insisted on delivering a written speech for the COP23 meet, reported a private TV channel on Thursday.
In the event, world leaders stressed on the need of an urgent climate-related action, as UN chief Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the diplomatic push in Bonn.
In the high-level Ministerial event, the Ministers were expected to spontaneously answer questions put forward by the moderator.
The event was called ‘Champions for Climate Action: The NDC Partnership’ and was attended by Ministers from over 30 countries.
The Minister was called on stage to give a short statement on why Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are important.
NDCs are voluntary national plans to cut carbon emissions that have been submitted by each country to the UNFCC under the Paris Agreement of 2015.
However, the Pakistani Minister was unable to answer a simple question regarding the relevance of NDCs to Pakistan briefly. Mushahidullah insisted upon giving his 5-minute-long written speech. He was allowed by the moderator to do so in two minutes, but the Minister stretched the address to four minutes.
At a jam-packed hall full of global media, it was nevertheless an extremely embarrassing moment for Pakistan with all the world watching. Many Ministers from small countries replied to the moderator’s questions in a nutshell.
‘GOVT TAKING STEPS FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENT’
Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that the government had been taking all possible steps for improving environment while undertaking sustainable economic development.
He was addressing an event on “Asia-Pacific Climate Action” during Conference of Parties 23 being held in Bonn Germany, says a Press release issued in Islamabad on Thursday.
He said, “At the country level we are making all possible steps towards climate resilient development.”
He said that “It makes me worry when I look at the situation and the changing climate of the world. Climate change is a global challenge, having no distinction or respect for boundaries or regions. This forces us to realise that emissions anywhere affect people everywhere.”
He said that as an implementation partner of the Paris Agreement and having adopted sustainable development goals and our country goals, special focus was given to climate change.
He said, “coming from a country, which only contributes less than 1 per cent of the global emissions while being one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, we cannot afford the luxury of just discussing this topic and therefore, have to take drastic steps towards our climate resilient infrastructure development.”
He also highlighted that the international debate on climate change and sustainable economic development as well as the frequent and devastating natural disasters, which have caused human tragedies and tremendous losses to the economy, had put environmental protection on the top of the agenda.
In Pakistan, he said that the Federal government had established a Ministry of Climate Change, which was instrumental in formulating National Climate Change Policy in 2012. The provinces had also enacted their own environmental protection laws in line with the Federal Environmental Protection Act, 1997 that provided for protection, conservation and rehabilitation, he added.
The State Bank of Pakistan had introduced Green Banking thus, acknowledging the responsibility of the financial sector in supporting policy initiatives for transforming a country’s economy towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy, he added.
Mushahid said that green banking was a paradigm shift from business as usual approach and had profound implications for strategic focus, financing and investment portfolio assessments.
The other speakers were Fiji Minister for Environment, Executive Director Green Climate Fund and Asian Development Bank Vice President.