| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Donors pledge more than $8 bln to help Pakistan flood recovery

In what is considered to be a significant test for who pays for climate disasters, Pakistan announced on Monday that donors have pledged to donate more than $8 billion to help it recover from last year’s devastating floods.

A summit of representatives from roughly 40 nations, private contributors, and international financial organizations is taking place in Geneva as Islamabad looks for assistance in paying for around half of the $16.3 billion recovery bill.

Waters are still receding from the floods caused by monsoon rains and melting glaciers which killed at least 1,700 people and displaced around 8 million.

Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb sent a tweet saying that pledges had reached $8.57 billion – more than it had initially sought.

She listed the contributors as the European Union, China, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank ($4.2 billion), and the Asian Development Bank ($1.5 billion). Additionally, the United States and France contributed.

Prior to this, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for enormous financial support to aid Pakistan in recovering from a “climate disaster of epic proportions.”

He continued, “Pakistan is doubly wounded by climate instability and a morally depraved international banking system.” He went on to explain that the current system was “biased” in favor of the wealthy nations that created it.

In light of mounting worries about Pakistan’s ability to pay for imports like energy and food as well as to fulfill its international debt obligations, additional cash is essential.

Pakistan’s finance minister is meeting an International Monetary Fund delegation on the sidelines of the Geneva meeting.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the country was committed to the IMF programme but that he was asking the IMF for “breathing space” to meet its commitments, without elaborating.

In comments to the conference earlier on Monday, Sharif said Islamabad was willing to provide around half of the $16.3 billion bill but wanted donors to contribute the rest.

He stated, “I am asking for a fresh lifeline for people who need to fuel our economy and re-enter the 21st century with a future that is secured from such catastrophic hazards to human security.

According to the U.N., there are still millions of homes, tens of thousands of schools, and thousands of kilometers of roads and railways that need to be rebuilt.

With a humanitarian aid package of $816 million less than half funded, efforts to secure funds for the initial emergency phase of the catastrophe response were unsatisfactory, according to U.N. data.

The next stage of Pakistan’s response, according to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, is a “monumental moment of reckoning for the entire globe.”

  • Reuters