Bilawal Bhutto chaired conference of young FM

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NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired a conference of young foreign ministers from different countries and exchanged views about how to tackle the international problems currently facing the world.

Young foreign ministers from Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Qatar, Serbia and other countries participated in the meeting. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar also accompanied Bilawal. Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal said the young foreign ministers not only will have to fight the challenges with regard to peace and development, but also struggle for ensuring equal economic rights for the posterity.

Addressing the young foreign ministers, Bilawal said they could play an important role in the international community’s cooperation in ensuring equal rights for the future generations. The foreign minister said the very objective of their meeting was to frame the future course of action for a better future of the world. All the young foreign ministers expressed their determination to support and assist Bilawal Bhutto in realising the cherished objective.

Meanwhile, chairing a high-level event on ‘Loss & Damage: New and Additional Financing’ organised by Pakistan on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly session on Sept 19, Bilawal proposed creation of a separate loss and damage financing window by the international financial institutions, including development of a standing debt restructuring modality by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for generating an immediate response to the climate-induced disasters in developing countries.

The event was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry (COP-27 Presidency), all major blocs in the climate change negotiations, as well as representative of the Green Climate Fund.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar also attended the meeting. Bilawal highlighted the proposal put forward by Pakistan, as Chair of the G77 and China, to include discussions of loss and damage finance as an agenda item at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP27).

Bilawal expressed the hope that a decision would be reached for a financial mechanism to compensate the developing countries for “loss and damage”.

Bilawal highlighted that the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan were a clear manifestation of the unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.

He mentioned that the floods impacted one in seven Pakistanis (33 million). Initial estimates suggested that the total damage caused by this climate-induced disaster could be upward of $30 billion, equivalent to 10% of Pakistan’s GDP.

The foreign minister emphasized that over the years, the developing countries had disproportionately suffered from the vagaries of climate change while contributing a miniscule amount to the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. For example, while contributing only 0.8% to GHG emissions, Pakistan was consistently among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world vis-à-vis the impact of climate change, he remarked.

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