ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday said as chair of G77+China, Pakistan would ensure that climate financial justice and losses were at the core of all multilateral negotiations at this year’s COP-27.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman attended the launch of the Climate Finance Accelerator (CFA) program by DAI Pakistan as the chief guest and keynote speaker. The event was organized to provide a platform for discussing the future road map for the program.

During her keynote speech, Minister Rehman reiterated the urgent need for equitable and just climate financing to address the current climate crisis.

Highlighting the climate catastrophe that Pakistan is experiencing, the Federal Minister said, “Climate change is a poster child for knowing no borders or timelines. Burning fossil fuels in one country impact a whole chain of small emitters nearer the equator in ways that multiply disaster outcomes for the vulnerable. There have been so many tragic monsoon casualties this month alone in Pakistan, and the weather cannot be in anyone’s control; only our responses can be optimized better.”

The world, particularly South Asia, was experiencing unprecedented climate events, with Europe and the US experiencing extreme temperatures, she said, adding, “However, those are still ten degrees less than what we have been enduring here. In terms of global collective action, though, we are all moving at glacial speeds even with the crisis knocking at our doors. There is a commitment gap for all societies and a huge fault line between commitments and their actualization. Pakistan alone needs $101 Billion for a smooth energy transition.”

The Climate Finance Accelerator (CFA) program is a four-year technical assistance program funded by the U.K. Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The CFA works with eight middle-income countries to help them achieve their national climate plans and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Minister Rehman stressed, “Climate finance needs to level up the infrastructure, through catastrophe bonds, blue bonds, and other such workable initiatives. Recently, at the Petersburg Dialogue, loss and damage were central to the agenda of the entire discourse. Pakistan emits less than 1% of GHGs but still bears the repercussions of activities carried out by the most prominent world polluters. We need to expedite our adaptation efforts and act now, not tomorrow. The Climate Ministry is now creating Pakistan’s first National Adaptation Plan.

Stressing the need for effective projects that scale up, Minister Rehman remarked, “A lot of companies are merely green washing their pollution. I have closed my doors to those companies that come to us with funds and projects to merely tick boxes with a dash of CSR. The private sector is a pivotal actor now and must speed ahead with their decarbonisation initiatives which we should facilitate and incentivize.”

“Unfortunately, the world has failed to assess the damage done through decades of carbon-rich lifestyles. This century’s challenge is understanding how climate change is accelerating and connecting the dots between ambition and action.

During such pivotal times, we need to stop satisfying our project-based workings with small pilot projects that provide ministries and development agencies with the cover of productivity. In reality, the scale of interventions needed is macro and much larger than envisioned.

Instead of small pilots that give our departments two SUVs, we need large-scale, fresh initiatives focusing on climate finance innovations. These should range from catastrophe bonds and climate risk insurance to nature performance bonds and other climate financing instruments that eventually scale it up to the entire country. Carbon markets, on the other hand, need frameworks that allow developing countries to turn their carbon sinks into sustainable financing for a circular economy, turning this financial wheel for critical climate action needed on the ground. Markets need to create instruments that are just and equitable, not just profitable for the rich. Markets must also wake up to the reality that many of their free operations leave countries with less resilience and more unsustainable debt. We need to design new and effective climate finance instruments.”

In conclusion, Minister Rehman expressed her gratitude to DAI Pakistan for working as unifiers, providing platforms to discuss climate innovations, and connecting the dots between financing justice and creating resilience. She underscored that equitable and just climate financing is pivotal to build future mitigation, adaptation, and resilience projects.