ISLAMABAD: The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on Friday while calling for bringing the climate change issue on the international agenda, urged the world to support Pakistan not just to respond to present day challenge rather prepare itself for the future.
“It is very emotional for me 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 Secretary General said addressing a joint press stakeout with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Earlier, 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 minister, calling it a climate catastrophe, said considering the magnitude of the destruction, Pakistan was unable to get funds required to meet shelter, clothing and food for the 35 million flood-stricken people.
He 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 remarked.
The UN secretary-general, who is on two-day solidarity visit to flood-hit Pakistan, expressed deep solidarity with the people of Pakistan, said he would be visiting the flood hit areas on Saturday to review the magnitude of the destruction.
“No country deserves this fate but particularly, no countries like Pakistan, that has contributed nothing to global warming,” he remarked.
Guterres urged the world step up their efforts to support Pakistan and other developing countries financial and technical resources to enable them cope with the challenges like floods, also urging the developed countries to produce a credible roadmap to back their commitments regarding the doubling of funding to address the climate change.
He said the loss and damage due to the climate change was not a future event rather “it is happening now” necessitating the urgent actions.
He told media that the United Nations 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 commented.
To another question, the UN chief told media that he always offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on Kashmir issue which was not accepted by India calling it a bilateral issue.