“As people across the world look on in horror at the continuing humanitarian crisis unfolding following monsoon floods in Pakistan, including the immediate threat of the country’s biggest lake Manchar Lake bursting its banks, it is essential that the international community reflect on the devastating impact which climate change is having on some of the most vulnerable populations of the world.
Whether it is in Pakistan, where it is reported that up to 30% of land is under water following the recent floods, or the Horn of Africa, including Somalia which is facing the very real threat of its third famine in three decades, the impact of climate change on those least responsible for causing it is clear. These countries, which are amongst the lowest producers of emissions in the world, are facing such devastation due to the failure of the developed world to adequately address the global climate emergency.
Alongside the clear need for humanitarian aid, it is long time that the structural impediments to development and tackling climate change are addressed.
As people’s lives are threatened and homes destroyed in such horrific numbers, and notwithstanding the support being provided by the United Nations and individual countries such as Ireland, through Irish Aid, to help with the immediate impact of the flooding, the representatives of the Government of Pakistan deserve a response from Heads of State and Heads of Government to their request that richer countries who have caused climate change do more to alleviate the suffering of those countries bearing the brunt of that damage.
In this context, it would not be proper for the statements made by Pakistan’s climate change minister Sherry Rehman and other members of that government to be ignored, including that consideration must be given to reparations being made to nations facing climate-induced disasters.
As President of Ireland, I stand with climate change minister Sherry Rehman and all those who have issued this request on behalf of the people of Pakistan.”