Emergency funding sought to address climate crisis

ISLAMABAD: A group of experts said on Sunday that urgent funds were needed to tackle the climate change crisis in Asia, particularly in Pakistan, to increase spending on vital public services such as health, education and social protection.

He said climate disasters forced investment in rebuilding and rebuilding and developing countries, including Pakistan, cut spending on public services and social protection and resulted in more people being pushed back into poverty. .

Chairing a seminar on “the impact of climatic disasters on the economy”, Shahzad Ali Malik said that already more than 50% of the Asian population lives below the poverty line of 5.50 dollars a day, according to a press release Press.

He said that between 2013 and 2020, only about $113 billion in public climate finance from international providers has been committed to these countries, which equates to an average of just over $14 billion per year. year.

He said the worst part is that more than half of this amount is provided in the form of loans that have to be repaid to some extent.

Only a third of the total funding available is for the adaptation needed to combat climate impact, he added.

He said most often people from marginalized and low-income backgrounds suffer the worst effects of the climate crisis and are the least prepared to deal with the consequences.

But the people who have suffered have done the least to cause this crisis, he said, adding that international financial support to build climate resilience and green societies is negligible and it is clear that developing countries in Asia are unable to adapt to the current and future climate. stressors alone.

Malik said that without adequate financial support, developing countries are going back to taking on debt to deal with climate impacts and risk falling into debt distress.

He said governments and providers of climate finance must urgently ensure that large-scale, grant-based adaptation finance reaches vulnerable communities at the local level to meet their real needs.

They should also clearly outline pathways to meet their commitments, including doubling adaptation funding.

He said Pakistan had experienced one of the hottest springs in recorded history with temperatures reaching 50C in some places, affecting hundreds of millions of people.

Another speaker, Shiasta Mobeen, from Kohsar University in Murree, said that in its latest report, the UN had warned that many climate impacts were already becoming irreversible and that there would also be ever-increasing limits. what people can do to combat the effects.

She said climate change has become an undeniable reality and is not just unconscious at the poles where ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate, nor is it a problem for the future.

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