Statement by Ambassador Nabeel Munir, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan During the Plenary Segment of High-Level Meeting on the protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of Economic, Social, and Environmental Dimensions of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (29 March 2019)

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking the President of the General Assembly for convening this High-level meeting.

Mr. President,

Climate Change is the defining issue of our times. It is not an academic discussion; it is an impending catastrophe.

Climate change not only causes extreme and widespread devastation, but also threatens our ability to accomplish national priorities and achieve sustainable economic growth. It accentuates existing political, social and economic challenges.

The Latest IPCC report confirms that global warming at 1.5°C would mean hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions.

Developing countries like Pakistan, that have a minimum carbon footprint, are facing a bigger challenge, as they are less capable of coping with climate risks.

Pakistan’s contribution to the total global green house gas emission is only 0.8%. Yet we are the world’s eighth most climate vulnerable country.

Around 90% of all natural disasters that have hit Pakistan have been triggered by climate change, putting enormous burden on our development capabilities and our ability to achieve sustainable development.

We are threatened by climate change in multiple ways; our glaciers are retreating faster than in any other part of the world and are likely to aggravate the existing water stress situation in Pakistan.

We suffered wide spread devastation caused by massive floods in 2010 and 2011 and a drought in the province of Sindh in 2014.

Mr. President,

In this backdrop, we have developed a comprehensive strategy to address Climate Change, which identifies policy approaches and implementation pathways for both adaptation and mitigation:

Mr. President,

In 2014, we embarked on a journey to plant one billion trees in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In 2018, the “Billion Tree Tsunami” became the first entity under the global “Bonn Challenge” to meet the pledge of restoring 3.48 million hectors of forests. Today, it has led to restoration of 6 million hectors of forests.

This project created half a million green jobs, revived forest biodiversity, engaged indigenous communities and energized our youth to become custodians of a green future.

It has now been transformed into a nation-wide “10 Billion Tree Tsunami”, which Prime Minister Imran Khan recently launched.

These are indicators of a shifting landscape in Pakistan. Under our new government we have laid the foundation for a cleaner, greener and sustainable future, aimed at lowering emissions and ensuring climate resilient growth.

However, to achieve our targets, climate finance remains vital.

Our adaptation needs are around $ 14 billion per annum. We therefore urge our partners to fulfill their pledges of mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020.

I thank you.