PM leaves for Paris New Global Financing Pact Summit

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has left for a two-day official visit to France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

During his visit, he will participate in the New Global Financing Pact Summit being held in Paris.

Islamabad hopes the summit will prove to be an opportunity for the leaders to discuss the contours of a new global architecture capable of meeting the challenges of financing sustainable development, environment, energy transition and climate change agenda.

The PM issued a statement on Twitter about his upcoming visit saying that his focus will remain on “presenting Pakistan’s position on the need for restructuring of international financial institutions to fight the contemporary challenges facing humanity”.

“The reform of international financial architecture has long been a key demand relentlessly made at different forums by public policy scholars, policy practitioners [and] world leaders especially from the Global South,” he added.

“The grave nature of challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, environment, rising levels of debt and energy transitions has rung alarm bells.

“The globalisation of the problems has necessitated the need for creative approaches to rethink the global financial system to make it representative and equitable.

“This is where the New Global Financing Pact Summit in France represents a unique opportunity for the world to come together and agree to broad principles and steps needed for a comprehensive reform of the international financial system.”

He also maintained that “as a leading stakeholder in G-77 plus China grouping and also as a country adversely hit by climate change threat, Pakistan is better positioned” for arguing the case for such global restructuring.

The PM will address the Summit as a leader of one of the largest developing countries most affected by climate change.

He will present Pakistan’s perspective and proposals for reform of international financial institutions, climate finance, green infrastructure, attainment of the SDGs and solutions related to debt.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the Summit.

‘A new consensus’

Macron hosts a summit on Thursday and Friday to pin down a roadmap for easing the debt burdens of low-income countries while freeing up more funds for climate financing.

The summit brings dozens of leaders together in the French capital to forge a top-level consensus on how to progress a number of initiatives currently struggling in bodies like the G20, IMF-World Bank and United Nations.

Ranging from debt relief to climate finance, many of the topics on the agenda take up suggestions from a group of developing countries, led by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, dubbed the ‘Bridgetown Initiative’.

“We are moving to a world – I would call it the Bridgetown system of finance – (that) recognises that we have to massively upscale the public sector and focus that on building resilience and adaptation because it’s hard for that to be funded any other way,” said Avinash Persaud, a special envoy for Mottley on climate finance.

Though binding decisions are not expected, officials involved in the summit’s planning said that some strong commitments should be made about financing poor countries.

Macron has said that the summit is aimed at building a “new consensus” to meet the interlinked global targets of tackling poverty, curbing planet-heating emissions and protecting nature.

Ideas on the table range from taxation on shipping, fossil fuels or financial transactions, to innovations in lending and a structural rethink of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

France says the two-day summit will bring together some 50 heads of state and government, and was more of a platform for ideas sharing ahead of a cluster of major economic and climate meetings in the coming months.

In particular, the French presidency said on Friday it wanted to give “political impetus” to the idea of an international tax on carbon emissions from shipping, with hopes of a breakthrough at a meeting of the International Maritime Organization later in June.

With trust in short supply over broken climate financing promises from richer countries, developing nations are looking for tangible progress.

The V20 group of countries on the climate frontlines, which now includes 58 member nations, has said restructuring the global financial system to align with climate targets must be completed by 2030.

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