Pakistan welcomes ‘Loss and Damage’ agreement signed at UN summit

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dated: 2022-11-20 12:33:13 .

ISLAMABAD (AP) – A landmark COP27 funding deal to help poor countries ravaged by climate change was welcomed Sunday by Pakistan, a nation ravaged by record monsoon rains this year.

The floods, likely exacerbated by global warming, inundated a third of Pakistan’s territory, leaving 33 million people struggling to survive and causing an estimated $40 billion in economic losses.

Pakistani officials, who have portrayed the country as a victim of climate change and called for reparations from major polluters, called the funding agreement “a move to reaffirm the fundamental principles of climate justice.”

The compensation deal, agreed early on Sunday in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, provides for the financing of “loss and damage” suffered by poor countries as a result of global warming.

It’s a big win for developing countries, which have long demanded the cash — sometimes seen as reparations — because they are often victims of floods, droughts, heat waves, famines and storms that worsen climate conditions, despite doing little to address the world’s increasing pollution.

It has also long been cited as an issue of justice for nations affected by extreme weather and for small island nations facing the existential threat of rising seas.

“Three long decades and we have finally achieved climate justice,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s finance minister. “We have finally answered the call of hundreds of millions of people around the world to help them cope with loss and damage.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the development on Twitter, calling it a “critical first step towards the goal of climate justice”.

Sharif credited his government’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, and her team for working on the summit agreement. He said it was now up to the transition committee to build on the historic development.

Rehman said in a tweet: “It has been a long 30-year journey from the request to the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund for 134 countries. We welcome today’s announcement and the joint text that took many nights to develop.”

“We look forward to (the fund) becoming operational to actually become a resilient entity capable of responding in an agile manner to the needs of the vulnerable, the weak and those on the front lines of climate disasters,” she said.

Pakistan suffered huge losses in the floods, which affected a third of its 33 million inhabitants, who faced unprecedented suffering in terms of human and property damage. More than 1,700 people were killed and almost 13,000 were injured. More than 13,000 kilometers of roads, 439 bridges and 2.28 million houses were damaged or destroyed.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan had emerged victorious from the compensation deal.

“A victory for climate justice, a victory for the developing world in honor of the 33 million flood victims in Pakistan and the millions around the world who are suffering from a climate disaster they did not create and have no means to deal with,” Zardari said.

The world’s biggest polluters must now fulfill their pledges and pay into the fund. A 2009 agreement on a $100 billion fund created by richer countries to pay for the development of poor nations has never been fully funded.

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Pakistan welcomes ‘Loss and Damage’ agreement signed at UN summit

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