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Pakistan ‘Doubly Victimized’ by Climate Change & Global Financial System: UN

© AP Photo / Muhammad SajjadPeople stand in a long queue and wait to buy subsidized sacks of wheat flour in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.
People stand in a long queue and wait to buy subsidized sacks of wheat flour in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.01.2023
Pakistan is seeking a debt-relief from country’s major lenders and multilateral agencies such as IMF to help it tide over the current economic crisis.
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday stated that Pakistan has been “doubly victimized by climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system”.
“That system routinely denies middle-income countries the debt relief and concessional funding needed to invest in resilience against natural disasters,” he said, speaking at the opening session of the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ — co-hosted by Islamabad and the United Nations—in Geneva.
The conference has been organized to raise around $16 billion funds needed for reconstruction of Pakistan’s flood-ravaged economy.
The floods, which wreaked havoc in major Pakistani provinces, affected around 33 million people, including rendering around eight million Pakistanis homeless. Around 9 million Pakistanis have been pushed back to the “brink of poverty” as a result of the floods, according to the UN chief.

In this regard, Guterres urged the developed and rich countries to make financing available for low and middle-income countries vulnerable to climate change.

People visit a market to shop for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 29, 2022.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.01.2023
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Guterres noted that “far more” than $16 billion will be needed in the long-term for the reconstruction of homes, re-building infrastructure and “jump-starting” jobs and agricultural activity in the country.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who also flew to Geneva to co-chair the summit, said that Islamabad needed $8 billion over the next three years in reconstruction efforts.

Pakistan’s Economic Woes

The floods struck Pakistan last year as its economy was still recovering from the post-pandemic economic slowdown and coming to terms with high fuel and food prices caused by western efforts to phase out Russian commodities from the global supply chains.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported last month that the forex reserves had dropped to an eight-year low. Reports in Pakistani media over weekend suggested that the current forex reserves would suffice only for a month.
Meanwhile, the government has said that it is awaiting billions of dollars in aid from “friendly” countries like the Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to ramp up the forex reserves.
Talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) for disbursing a $1 billion economic assistance package have reportedly hit a roadblock over Islamabad’s inability to meet the terms of the western-lender.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has consistently rejected the suggestion that Islamabad would default on its foreign debt repayments.