COP27 must put people at heart of its agenda: Sherry Rehman

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Sharm El-Sheikh (15-11-2022): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman speaking at the Pakistan Pavilion on "Just Energy Transition" Side Event, at COP27.

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: “People and their lives, particularly vulnerable communities, must be at the heart of COP27, along with the will to put them back on their feet as they face the accelerated impacts of climate stress. The Loss and Damage agenda must be taken forward with clear political will,” said Senator Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Climate Change at COP27.

“This COP has been advertised as the ‘Implementation COP’ and often billed as one that will put Adaptation at its core, but while we seek to find common ground on shared challenges including a commitment to announced pledges and NDCs, we are yet to see the momentum to move forward on the business of saving ourselves from the uncertain post 1.5C degree future,” she remarked in a news release.

The Minister was speaking at the high-level Loss and Damage plenary, where she said that the Global South has high expectations for the creation and announcement of a Loss & Damage Facility from this COP. “We are still committed to all the goals of this COP despite emitting less than 1% GHG globally, but we have expectations from the members of the UNFCCC.

We have articulated our concerns at every step, and as we come close to the finishing line, there is a concern that if we don’t see a window or a facility that indicates a commitment towards repairing loss and damages, then it is going to be the ‘other 1%’ that will suffer and fail their vulnerable populations.” she stated.

The Minister also highlighted that vulnerable countries under extreme public debt cannot be left alone to deal with the impact of climate change, and the global financial system must be rewired to address these new existential challenges. “We are also told that until 2030, the cost of surviving the impacts of loss and damage – which our emissions haven’t caused – is going to cost us US$348bn.

I understand that no country has that kind of resources to unlock, but Pakistan shouldn’t be told to go to private investments and make attractive business plans; that’s not going to be enough. There must be a transformational decision here, especially about the political and financial system, and how it will serve the countries that are extremely indebted. We need to talk about how we can stay alive, and about what commitments come out of this COP27,” she said.

The Minister held a meeting with the Turkish Minister for Environment, Murat Kurum.

Kurum expressed condolences for the lives lost in the tragic flood in Pakistan and promised support in relief and reconstruction efforts. Minister Rehman thanked the Turkish counterpart and expressed her gratitude for the technical support Turkey has extended to Pakistan for disaster management and housing reconstruction. She also told her counterpart about Pakistan’s stance at COP27 and shared Pakistan’s position for an announcement of a Loss and Damage Finance facility.

The Federal Minister also visited the European Union Pavilion on their invitation to meet with the delegation of EU Parliamentarians and share Pakistan’s concerns.

The Pakistan Pavilion also hosted ARUP, a global engineering company, which generated discussions on sustainable rebuilding for critical infrastructure lost through the floods this summer. Other panels focused on gendering recovery from climate trauma as well as Pakistan’s energy transition plans.

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