The global annual Climate Conference, COP28, has kickstarted in Dubai to bring in one place the worldwide discussion on climate change, climate action, and climate justice. 70,000 people for 12 long days – the flagship conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take a good stock of progress on the Paris Agreement. For the coming week, the world’s media attention will be fixed on Dubai. For Pakistan, particularly, this platform is more important than any other.
Occupying the fifth place in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change, Pakistan’s case compelled the world to adopt the ‘Loss and Damage’ fund in last year’s COP27. After making headlines for a few weeks, the fund was lost to global neglect, a lack of sufficient donors, and some other technical complexities in implementation. For Pakistan, the COP28 will be a chance to remind the world of what it owes to the countries who unjustly pay the price of excessive carbon emissions by some.
Having a minimal carbon footprint, Pakistan is unfortunately on the front line of climate change susceptibility. Loss of life and infrastructure in last year’s floods were given momentary attention by the world. While the moral commitment of international organisations focused on climate action remains steadfast towards Pakistan, the donors have not been very forthcoming. It remains a challenge that those actually responsible come to accept the responsibility but this is hardly happening, in view of the fact that the President of the country with the second largest carbon footprint, the United States, will not attend the COP28.
For its part, Pakistan must present its case effectively. The decisions at the COP28 will have profound implications for Pakistan. The past one year tells us that disagreements persist on financial responsibilities. The expansion of the donor pool still requires developed countries to take the lead. COP28 remains essential in helping bridge the gap between desirables and achievables in global climate action and climate finance. It remains to be seen how Pakistan and other vulnerable countries compel the forum for robust climate justice.