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Pakistan presents its climate investment portfolio at UN



At a special session of the United Nations SDG Investment Fair 2023, which was held in New York on Wednesday, Pakistan unveiled its first-ever Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Investor Map 2023, which identifies tangible, investable solutions to the country’s pressing needs.

Additionally, it unveiled a $2.84 billion diversified portfolio of climate-resilient investments in initiatives such as housing construction, climate change adaptation, and microfinance, which offers financial services to those with low incomes who are not eligible for traditional banking. “This Map highlights bankable investment opportunities for Pakistan, which can lead to a reduced trade deficit, transitions to alternate energy, a robust infrastructure, and enhanced food security in the country,” said Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, upon launching the SDG Investor Map.

In his keynote address  to the session via video-link from Islamabad, Tariq Bajwa, Special Assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Finance, said, “As Pakistan recovers from the devastating impact of the 2022 floods, the government is prioritizing efforts to mobilize financing for development to not only support long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts, but also to achieve inclusive economic growth aligned with SDGs.”

“We are cognizant of Pakistan’s current macroeconomic challenges”,  he said.

Bajwa also reaffirmed the Government of Pakistan’s intent to begin working on a country Integrated National Financing Framework in continued partnership with UNDP.

The session was attended by senior officials from the Government of Pakistan, UNDP, UNDESA, as well as leading representatives from the international private sector, financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral entities, as well as networks of banks, investors, development agencies, and advisory partners.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram also reiterated Pakistan’s full commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals, but said that the growth trajectory had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the catastrophic floods of 2022 and the ongoing food, fuel, and financial crisis.

“Our fiscal space for development expenditure has shrunk,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s annual financing gap for the SDGs now stands at $3.72 billion for the period 2020-2030.

As one of the top ten climate-vulnerable countries in the world, the Ambassador said, Pakistan’s adaptation to the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) was immense– estimated to costing between $7-14 billion per annum.

The Ambassador also highlighted the goals behind the development of the ‘Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Framework’ (4RF) by the Government of Pakistan, which was presented at the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ in Geneva.

“The 4RF provides an overarching framework for planning, financing, implementing, and monitoring Pakistan’s recovery. We are currently in the process of ‘projectizing’ this framework and hope to gain the support of the international community in implementation,”  Ambassador Akram said.

“The role of the private sector is an important component in bridging the SDG Financing gap,” the Ambassador stated,

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Akram expressed the importance of collaboration between Pakistan’s SDGs Investments & Climate Financing Facility, set up jointly by the Finance Ministry, the Government of Pakistan, and UNDP.

“This is essential in order to bridge Pakistan’s development financing gap, mobilize private capital for post-disaster development needs and recovery, and accelerate the achievement of SDGs,”

Moderated by UNDP Director, Sustainable Finance Hub, Marcos Neto, the session was also addressed  Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan; Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific; and Navid Hanif, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.

From the private sector, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, CEO & President, Habib Bank Limited Pakistan; Syed Mohsin Ahmed, CEO, Pakistan Microfinance Network; and Ms. Faheen Allibhoy, Managing Director, Development Finance Institution, JP Morgan, spoke on the occasion.

“Developing and climate-vulnerable countries like Pakistan are struggling to raise the level of finances needed to tackle and adapt to climate change, which is now widespread, rapid and intensifying,” Ms. Wignaraja, UNDP Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, said.

“At the SDG Investment Fair 2023, we are demonstrating a clear intention to facilitate bold and accountable actions from the private sector to build an effective SDG investment ecosystem and close the development countries’ financing gaps”.

Navid Hanif, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, said, “It is time to redouble our efforts to increase investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The SDG Investment Fair provides an inclusive platform for doing so by promoting innovative partnerships for mobilizing private capital. It is encouraging that Pakistan is presenting innovative proposals to attract private capital to drive its sustainable and climate resilient growth in the aftermath of the floods.”

Neto, UNDP Director, Sustainable Finance Hub, stated, “A focus on innovative financing is crucial, as it can provide long-term funding for sustainable development projects and initiatives, ultimately contributing to the achievement of the SDGs and creating a more sustainable future for all.”

The Pakistan portfolio was made possible with the support of the SDG Investments and Climate Financing Facility, jointly set up by the Ministry of Finance and UNDP Pakistan in 2022. As part of UNDP Pakistan’s Financing for Development portfolio, the Facility identifies, develops, and leverages high-impact SDG-aligned and climate financing value propositions to attract investments.

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