Pakistan at climate crossroads

Australian Greens

Right now, Pakistan is in the news due to massive flooding, monsoon rains and melting glaciers. the country needs urgent support – and the Australian Greens are calling on the Albanese Government to step in.

By Liaquat Ali

Pakistan is back in the news nowadays due to massive flooding, monsoon rains and melting glaciers. One-quarter of the country is still underwater, and 33 million people are directly affected and displaced – primarily rural and less privileged communities in the South of Pakistan, such as those living in the Sindh province.

It is the third time in the past 15 years that Pakistan has faced a similar situation; the people of Pakistan have dealt with such crises in 2010 and 2012, and now again in 2022. Needless to say, infrastructure is beyond breaking point in these areas.

Pakistan has the most significant glacier numbers in the world outside of the polar region, and they’re melting at tremendous speed. Melting glaciers are one of the clearest, most visible signs of the climate crisis and one of its most direct consequences. Pakistan has seen triple the usual amount of glacial lake outbursts – a sudden release of water from a lake fed by glacier melt – that has contributed to the catastrophic flooding.

Monsoon rain patterns are also changing. The average rainfall have seen a dramatic jump from 40-80 mm to 1109 mm. Pakistan has become a very vulnerable country that now exists on the frontline of climate change and the impact of greenhouse emissions. Our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is less than 1 percent, but Pakistan is paying the cost of others’ mess.

If the world does not act urgently, we will face similar situations everywhere. But right now, Pakistan needs support and assistance in this state of emergency. We are deeply grateful for the Australian Greens’ advocacy for us, particularly deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi’s calls to the Australian Government to increase aid for Pakistan.

“Australia should deliver aid funding and assistance to support relief and reconstruction efforts, as well as the planning of climate-resilient infrastructure which can better withstand floods and extreme weather,” Senator Faruqi has said.

“Australia has a clear role to play here: not only as a wealthy country in our region, but also as a big contributor to the climate crisis which is driving more disasters.

“Australia needs to view the climate crisis with the urgency it demands, and commit to no new coal and gas as well as net zero emissions by 2035. That’s the action needed to tackle the systemic causes of the tragedies we see unfolding today.”

Other support measures

The Australian Greens has established contact with the Pakistan Green party through the Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) to offer support. The IDC also continues to support the Pakistan Green party on different issues, including cooperation on gender equality, capacity building, and campaign preparations and training.

The Pakistan Green party held its national congress last February, which Senator Mehreen Faruqi attended as a guest speaker online. We are pleased to continue cooperation between the parties and to share our common goals, policies and Green politics.

The Pakistan Green Party conducted our first gender equity training for women members of the Pakistan Greens as part of regional initiative support of the Australian Greens IDC, resulting in capacity building of women’s leadership development. AG IDC coordinator Michelle Sheather, Najah Zaroush from the Green Party of Lebanon, Soohe Lee from the Korean Green Party and Jenny Mulkearns from Australian Greens IDC participated as trainers in this initiative. As a result, the Pakistan Green party has recruited and trained female candidates for the local elections in late 2023, and prepares for the next general election, which may be held in March 2023.

In the past, members of the Pakistan Green party have attended study tour visits in Australia, organised by IDC and the Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) and hosted by Australian Greens. In the year ahead, the IDC continues to build on previous work in support of initiatives for the Pakistan Greens through training, party-building and gender equity initiatives. The Pakistan parliament has a gender quota system of 30 percent to increase female representation in parliament in the next election.

Senator Faruqi has initiated an open letter of support addressed to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong to increase Australian aid to Pakistan now. You can join this call for action by signing the letter here.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.