Climate Change

UNEP to enhance cooperation with Pakistan on climate resilience and adaptation

Karachi : Chairing a meeting with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) delegation at her residence in Karachi, Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman highlighted the challenges of resilient recovery after the devastating floods of 2022.

Welcoming the delegation on their return from flood affected areas of Sindh, the Minister said, “It is very important for us that Ms. Andersen came here herself in response to my invitation and saw and felt the magnitude of the challenge.” The Minister added that while many have forgotten about this crisis, even the most optimistic analysis suggests that recovery is going to be slow, largely because resource-barriers make it challenging to coordinate responses to such a huge catastrophe.

Homelessness is a terrible thing to face, especially when the land so many communities lived on is no longer safe or habitable to resettle on. The minister emphasized that no one wants to become a climate migrant, so our response needs to be more than just strategic. It would require us to move communities to safer ground but for that one needs to create livelihood incentives, and those are few and far between in a landscape scarred by extreme climate impacts.

Federal Minister Sherry Rehman and the Executive Director of UNEP also spent time on charting progress on ways to mobilise green financing that actually responds to community needs, not just top-down planning. The Minister emphasized the need to gauge and ensure that green grants fulfilled capacity needs at the right time. She appreciated UNEP for supporting the Living Indus Initiative in their help with technical projectisation.

Minister Rehman also asserted the need for a full-time commitment for translating this initiative into a practical reality. “We cannot afford to have a plug in and plug out model for this. What we need is consistency in the performance of tasks and clear progress on deliverables,” she said. For this purpose, the minister advocated for a permanent office of UNEP representatives in the ministry, which the Executive Director agreed to mobilise.

The Minister concluded, highlighting the urgency of climate action that requires an equally coordinated and prompt response. “Our aim is to avoid working in silos and instead working with speed, agility and transparency, especially on nature-based solutions that bolster the Living Indus Initiative,” she stated.

The UNEP Executive Director, Ms. Inger Andersen commended the Federal Minister for her advocacy for ecosystem restoration in the flood affected areas and for her contributions in pushing for global climate action. The Executive Director declared it their “top priority” to work with the Government of Pakistan – especially on the Living Indus Initiative – for a resilient recovery. She also committed to enhancing their relationship with Pakistan, which was appreciated by Minister Rehman as an index of Andersen’s own leadership on taking up Pakistan’s environment and recovery challenges as both urgent and long-term global investments in adaptation actions for climate-vulnerable nations.