UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday (February 16) began a three-day visit to Pakistan, recognizing the country’s decades of outstanding generosity and solidarity as one of the world’s largest hosts of refugees, and highlighting its commitment to climate action.
Speaking to reporters after participating in a tree planting ceremony and delivering an address on climate change and sustainable development, Mr. Guterres said it was time for the world to take a step back and look at Pakistan through a wider frame.
In his ‘Special Talk on Sustainable Development and Climate Change’, Mr. Guterres noted that like other developing countries, Pakistan has contributed little to the problem yet faces disproportionate vulnerability because of it.
Commending Prime Minister Imran Khan for highlighting climate change in his address to the UN General Assembly last September, the Secretary-General also congratulated Pakistan on becoming co-chair of the Green Climate Fund, the UN-backed mechanism that helps developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.
Noting Pakistan’s climate-focused initiatives like the ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ campaign and the Clean and Green Pakistan Movement, he expressed his admiration for the decision to abolish plastic bags in Islamabad and elsewhere in the country.
“Plastic pollution is today one of the central concerns that we have, especially for the protection of our oceans,” said the UN chief, who held up a bag made of fabric, and urged everyone in attendance to use similar ones when they did their shopping.
The answer to the climate crisis is global solidarity backed by global action, said the Secretary-General, adding: “We are in a battle for our lives. But I firmly believe it is a battle that can be won.”
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