Pakistan highlights SCO’s critical role in environmental sustainability, climate resilience

By Shafqat Ali | Gwadar Pro Apr 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD, April 19 (Gwadar Pro) - Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman emphasized the critical role that the Shang Cooperation Organisation (SCO) could play at the regional level in achieving shared goals related to environmental sustainability and climate resilience on Tuesday at the 4th Meeting of the Heads of the Ministers and Agencies of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states responsible for Environmental Protection organised virtually by India.

During the meeting, Minister Rehman highlighted the value of SCO as a forum for member states to share their perspectives on this existential crisis that is now redefining global, regional and national priorities and responses in the 21st century.

She drew attention to Pakistan's unique position as one of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change, despite contributing less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are on the front lines of climate change, braving disastrous floods, unlivable heatwaves, and fast-melting glaciers,” she maintained.

She highlighted the catastrophic floods that occurred in Pakistan in 2022, which inundated one-third of the country, impacted 33 million people and caused over US$30 billion in economic losses and damages.

Sherry Rehman also said that tackling climate change has become a high priority on all ministerial agendas in Pakistan, and both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto are actively working to address climate change at the national and global levels.

She shared details about Pakistan's recent policies and programmes, such as the National Clean Air Policy, National Hazardous Waste Management Policy, Clean Green Pakistan, Living Indus Initiative, the creation of new national parks and expansion of protected areas, and federal-level regulations on plastics.

In her address, Sherry Rehman proposed several specific actions for the forum to consider, such as establishing a technical working group to exchange information and best practices on common issues, exploring opportunities for capacity building and knowledge sharing, and developing regional mechanisms for climate financing and carbon markets.

She also emphasized that SCO members could consider building a united voice in advocating for reforming the international financial architecture to transform access pathways that remain blocked for climate finance delivery to developing countries, especially those on the frontlines of accelerated climate stress.

“Climate Change knows no borders. The need for effective utilisation of this forum by leveraging our respective comparative advantages and sharing experiences and working towards our common goal of mitigating and adapting to climate change is the need of the hour. We must act now to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come,” she contended.


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