Published Date: May 4, 2021
COVID-19 Indicates Importance of Addressing Climate Change Threats: Amin
Associated Press Of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD04 May — Prime Minister (SAPM)’s Special Assistant on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, said COVID-19 posed many challenges but it created an opportunity for Pakistan to respond to climate threats alter. During the time of pandemic, Pakistan launched a green stimulus program focusing on green employment and saving nature.
He expressed these views during his speech at the roundtable webinar ‘Debt swaps for green recovery: opportunities, challenges and way forward for Pakistan’, organized by the Institute for Sustainable Development (SDPI), reads a news release.
“As the country is prone to clean green initiatives, this government is focusing on funding this transition through various mechanisms,” Aslam said, further explaining that the first step in this regard is the restructuring of ADB funding.
The initiative focuses on green employment, while the Eco-system restoration fund uses $ 120 million from the World Bank to repair ecosystems.
In addition, the goal is to achieve by creating an estimated 100,000 green jobs based on these activities. He further added that the government is also focusing on ‘Debt for nature’ and a green euro bond worth $ 500 million for hydropower projects.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, was of the opinion that in the current situation it is not just Pakistan but that countries around the world are experiencing financial constraints and that it has limited their window and fiscal availability for investment in green development .
“Exchanging our debt for nature, biodiversity, green and clean projects can be a useful resource for the care of COVID-19 and social security,” Dr Suleri said, citing some of the government’s initiatives for debt swapping. took, stressed.
Chief Support Unit for SDGs, Ministry of Planning and Special Initiatives, Ali Kemal, informed the participants that several debt swap agreements are taking place creating 85,000 green jobs under the climate change agenda.
In addition, $ 180 million was generated for ecosystem restoration. He further said that COVID-19 has led to the digitization of various sectors which could be a way for the country to improve the index.
Samar Ihsan, senior joint secretary, EAD, stressed that Pakistan has had debt reform under other agreements in the past.
She said, for example, that Canada, which exchanged 447 million Canadian dollars for quality education, Germany exchanged 50 million euros for education, and Italy exchanged 85 million dollars -50% for Afghan refugees and 50% for health and education.
The government has sought to explore the potential areas for biodiversity, she added.
Sobiah Becker, Climate Change Adviser, FCDO, explained how future opportunities in COP-26 can also be exploited for debt swaps. This pandemic has shown that planetary health is also linked to human health, she added.
Mujtaba Khalid, head of the Islamic Finance Center, BIBF, believed that there are several ways to approach the countries affected by climate change, because Pakistan is one of them and therefore policy is needed for the agenda for climate action.
Khurram Lalani of Energy & Infrastructure, Resources Future, initially assumed that the pandemic would lead to fewer investments in green infrastructure worldwide, but the opposite has happened and 96% of investments have increased in the past year.
Strategic Planning Advisor, SEED Pakistan, Omar Mukhtar believes we need to ensure that economic recovery exists to build better. Debt for climate change transactions should be one of the environmental objectives.
The fiscal space is tough in Pakistan and the federal share of the government’s revenue is 33 trillion, of which 26 trillion was paid in debt while the remaining expenses were borrowed.
He said serious capacity issues prevail in negotiations with government agencies, while coordination between federal and provincial levels for climate change objectives is extremely important.
Dr Sajid Amin and Dr Hina Aslam, from SDPI, also addressed various aspects of the topic and said that green recovery should be a primary focus area for the government.