Exclusion from climate change summit: FO says Pakistan among lowest emitters

'Govt's landmark initiatives like Billion Tree Tsunami have won international acclaim'

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has said that its commitment to address climate change and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership on this account are well accepted and appreciated around the world.

In a statement on Saturday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Choudhari said the government’s landmark initiatives like the Billion Tree Tsunami have won international acclaim, including from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

He said that Pakistan is also meaningfully contributing to shape the global climate change discourse, inter alia, as the vice president of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He added that Pakistan also co-chaired the multibillion-dollar Green Climate Fund, established to support climate actions in developing countries, last year.

The Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change hosted by US President Biden reconvenes the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together leaders from countries responsible for approximately 80 per cent of global emissions and gross domestic product (GDP).

The spokesperson made it clear that Pakistan, despite being among the top ten countries affected by climate change, is one of the lowest emitters – with less than one per cent of the global emissions.

“Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times that can only be countered through inclusive, cooperative and forward-looking policies. Pakistan remains fully committed to play its due role in this fight,” the statement said.

Earlier on Friday, US President Joe Biden said that the United States has invited global leaders, including the leaders of China and Russia, to participate in a summit on climate change in April.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among the 40 world leaders invited to the summit, to be held on April 22-23, according to a White House statement.

Biden’s Earth Day global summit on climate is part of his effort to elevate climate change as a top priority. It will be held virtually given pandemic restrictions and live-streamed for public viewing.

However, the omission of Pakistan from the list of invitees to the conference raised concerns as the country is among those countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Twitter users noted that Pakistan’s efforts have been acknowledged by the WEF, which makes its exclusion puzzling.

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