PAK-US partnership critical for transformation to renewables: Masood Khan 

Washington DC, February 01, 2023 (PPI-OT):“USAID, State Department and Pakistan are coordinating to develop projects that would benefit people directly and would launch a new program for climate adaptation and risk mitigation,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan. “The United States can help Pakistan in transformation to renewables, especially wind and solar power,” he said.

Addressing a webinar on “What Pakistan’s Climate Crisis Means for the World” organized by prestigious US think-tank Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Ambassador Khan said that transformation to renewables was important for adaptation and embracing new technologies that would help the country build resilience to respond to the future disasters.

The Ambassador said that Pakistan’s top priorities post floods period included recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. “Within these three clusters, our priorities are to restore lives and livelihoods; create economic opportunities; ensure social protection and rebuild damaged infrastructure,” he said.

Masood Khan thanked the U.S. government for not only providing an assistance of US$ 200 million for flood affectees but also using its convening power to garner support for the flood affected people during International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan in Geneva.

He said that the projects pledged by international financial institutions and multilateral banks during Geneva Conference were aimed at poverty alleviation and building new infrastructure in critical sectors such as health and education. He expressed the hope that continued commitment towards those projects, engagement of community at grass roots level and effective monitoring mechanism would help ensuring expeditious implementation.

“The Federal Government of Pakistan and all the provincial governments are firmly committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in utilization of flood assistance,” he said. Discussing the future course of action, the Ambassador said that Pakistan looked forward to international community for climate justice in addition to the support that has been provided for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We hope that the Loss and Damage Fund, set up by COP27, would be financed by the developed world to save countries like Pakistan from annihilation in future,” he said. The Ambassador said that World Weather Attribution had clearly established that recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan could be attributed to extreme weather patterns and erratic climate change.

“Today it is Pakistan, tomorrow there will be another country in South Asia or any other part of the world,” he said. He said that extreme weather events disrupt security and economies that not only affect regions but the world at large.

Discussing the impact floods and war in Ukraine over the country’s economy especially the agriculture sector, the Ambassador said that it led to shortage of wheat and fertilizers in the country. Agriculture, he said, was important to Pakistan not only for food security but exports worth $4.4 billion.

Renowned British author, journalist and policy analyst Anatolia Lieven, author of Climate Change and the Nation State, speaking on the occasion admired resilience of Pakistani nation and expressed the hope that the country would over the challenges caused by massive floods.

Steve Rynecki, Director for USAID’s Office of Climate and Sustainable Growth at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, speaking on the occasion said that climate change was one of the biggest transnational challenge of the present time. He said that the United States was working closely with Pakistan to help the country in building resilience to drought and floods.

In this context, he highlighted various initiatives including recently launched Green Alliance, mobilizing scientific expertise, private sector innovation, community leadership, and higher education and water resource management to assist the country preparing itself to meet future challenges. “We helping Pakistan in effectively manage its water, agriculture and energy resources as they are crucial to the country’s growth and development,” Rynecki said.

He said that under climate smart agriculture, the US was assisting to devise locally driven innovations to help solve agriculture sustainability issues including carbon emissions and supply chain issues.

Concluding his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan observed that while governments all around the globe were forthcoming on the issue of climate change, the parliaments were conservative and divided and needed to be convinced about the challenges that we were facing. Ambassador Masood Khan thanked Adam Weinstein, Research Fellow in the Quincy Institute’s Middle East Program, for organizing and moderating the event.

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