Geneva, 9 January 2023 (TDI): The major climate conference, “Climate Resilient Pakistan,” co-hosted by Pakistan and the United Nations (UN), will begin today in Geneva.

Its goal is to rally support for rebuilding the country following devastating floods, and it is a major test case for who pays for climate disasters.

The conference will bring together governments, leaders from the public and private sectors, and members of civil society to support the people of Pakistan.

Also read: Pakistan to co-host climate resilient conference in Geneva

Shehbaz Sharif has reached Geneva to present a “recovery framework” at the conference. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and French President Emmanuel Macron are also due to speak at the conference.

Recovery Framework

Pakistan is seeking an estimated $16.3 billion to rehabilitate and rebuild damaged infrastructure in a climate-resilient manner. Shehbaz Sharif issued a statement before departing for Geneva.

He said, “Millions of Pakistanis affected by unprecedented devastation look for compassion and solidarity to build themselves back up.”

“We will place a comprehensive post-disaster framework plan for recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction with resilience before development partners and friendly countries. The bridging funding gap is key to restoring critical infrastructure.” He reiterated.

Sharif will also shed light on the steps taken by the government of Pakistan to rebuild and reconstruct the country with the finances it can afford to provide shelter to flood-hit people in the country.

Climate carnage in Pakistan

Notably, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, visited Pakistan’s flood-hit regions in September and described the destruction as “climate carnage.”

Also read: UN report uses Pakistan flood to foreshadow future catastrophes

UN Development Program Resident Representative in Pakistan Knut Ostby said in advance of Monday’s conference that the disaster was caused by accelerating climate change across the world.

Most of the waters have now receded. An internationally backed post-disaster study estimates that $16.3 billion is needed to help the country’s rehabilitation over the long term.

Pakistani and UN officials say several million children are still living near contaminated and stagnant flood waters, putting their survival at risk. “We estimate that up to nine million additional people could be pushed into poverty due to the flood impact,” Ostby noted.

He stressed that Pakistan’s flood crisis is a global problem and must be addressed as such. Ostby warned that the disaster can happen to other countries affected by climate change.

It is pertinent to note that the catastrophic flooding has added to the economic challenges facing Pakistan. The country has struggled to pay for imports such as energy and food amid rapidly dwindling foreign exchange reserves.