Pakistan’s case study in the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) report says the full GDP impact of the monsoon floods of 2022 still remains unknown. However, it records huge losses where 9.1 million people have been pushed into poverty. Known losses of around $30 billion are an eye-opener to what an emergency the climate crisis presents. For a developing country, bearing the cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation is nearly impossible and this is the reason why the affected people still remain displaced and do not have homes.
The challenges posed by climate-related threats and disasters are many. Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate-caused disruptions is an established fact now. The only option that remains is to upgrade monitoring and predictability mechanisms and enhance disaster management capacity. However, it is important to know that Pakistan cannot be expected to deal with these challenges on its own. The climate problem transcends boundaries and international climate action forums must be able to galvanise the necessary funds that an affected country requires.
The case study records staggering losses inflicted by last year’s floods. The upcoming climate conference, COP28, will be Pakistan’s chance to raise an argument based on the UNEP’s report. But it is very unfortunate that the funds promised in “loss and damage” have not been delivered. This lack of seriousness of the world leaves the vulnerable countries on their own and human catastrophes become inevitable. As climate-related disasters become more frequent and severe, the window for recovery and rehabilitation is shrinking, underscoring the urgent need for adaptive strategies and international collaboration.
Poor collection and communication of data as well as insufficient monitoring mechanisms that can help predict the scale of a climate-caused disaster, are some of the key challenges facing Pakistan. Adaptive technologies are the need of the hour but not being sufficiently technologically advanced, the country will have to rely on the export of technology; something which is again a challenge in terms of affordability and purchasing power. In this context, the world has a moral duty to collaborate with vulnerable countries such as Pakistan.