International donors pledged more than $9 billion on Monday to help Pakistan recover from last year’s disastrous floods, surpassing its external funding targets and paving the way for a new fundraising model to fight the floods. climatic disasters in the poorest countries.
Officials from around 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions gathered at a meeting in Geneva as Islamabad sought funds to cover around half of a stimulus bill amounting to $16.3 billion.
The meeting’s co-hosts, the United Nations and the Pakistani government, said more than $9 billion had been pledged by bilateral and multilateral partners.
Donors included the Islamic Development Bank ($4.2 billion), the World Bank ($2 billion), Saudi Arabia ($1 billion), as well as the European Union and China, a said Pakistani Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. France and the United States also contributed.
“Today has really been a day that gives us a lot of hope,” said Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. “I think the message to the world is clear: the world will stand with those who go through a national calamity.”
Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, called the outcome of the conference – where pledges exceeded Pakistan’s target – “completely unusual”, saying donor pledges were often below targets.
Waters continue to recede from flooding caused by monsoon rains and melting glaciers that have killed at least 1,700 people, displaced around 8 million and destroyed key infrastructure.
Earlier on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for massive investments to help Pakistan recover from what he called a “climate catastrophe of monumental proportions”.
“Pakistan is a double victim of climate chaos and a morally bankrupt global financial system,” he added. He then clarified that the current system was “biased” towards the rich countries that designed it.
Additional funding is crucial for Pakistan amid growing concerns over its ability to pay for imports such as energy and food and to meet sovereign debt obligations abroad.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the country was committed to the IMF program but was asking the IMF for a “breath” to meet its commitments, without giving further details.
“I call for a new lifeline for people who need to propel our economy forward and reenter the 21st century with a future protected from such extreme human security risks,” he said.
Millions of houses, tens of thousands of schools as well as thousands of kilometers of roads and railways still need to be rebuilt, according to the UN.
Efforts to secure funding for the initial emergency phase of the disaster response have been disappointing, with an $816 million humanitarian aid package less than half funded, according to UN data. .