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Washing consciences?

Amnesty: financial pledges for flood recovery in Pakistan should not be used by countries to ‘wash their conscience’
Heavy flood after rain In the local stream, August 2022, Mingora Swat, Pakistan

Donors from around the world have pledged more than $9 billion (exceeding the target of $8 billion) to help Pakistan recover from the devastating floods that hit the country last year.

This follows a fundraising call of $186 million for initial emergency relief held by the United Nations, where less than half of the amount was raised.

In response to the news, Rimmel Mohydin, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner, warned countries most responsible for climate change should not ‘wash their conscience’ by making financial pledges.

Climate-vulnerable Pakistan

The flood damage in Pakistan last year covered three-quarters of the country, leaving close to a million people without access to safe and adequate housing.

While Pakistan has accounted for 0.4% of historic emissions it is listed as one of the most climate-vulnerable places in the world – a devastating reminder of the consequences of climate change and the need for governments to catch up with their adaptation and mitigation efforts.

‘Many governments have stepped up to assist Pakistan as it begins its long and difficult journey to recover from last year’s devastating floods. While this is a welcome step from the countries among the most responsible for climate change, it should not wash their conscience.

‘Not only must they immediately meet their pledges but also ensure that there is decisive commitment to reduce emissions, phase out fossil fuels and provide funds quickly from the Loss and Damage fund established at COP27.

‘The Pakistani authorities must ensure that the most marginalised groups, across gender and socio-economic status, and those that are already pushed well past the brink of poverty and are vulnerable to disease, displacement and hunger have the assistance they need.

‘The use of the funds to prioritise rehabilitative efforts should be done through broad consultation, including with people affected and civil society. There should be independent monitoring of how the funds are being used so that the public can demand accountability on the use of the donations to ensure a just recovery.’

RIMMEL MOHYDIN
Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner

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