Islamabad - Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan on Wednesday said that rich countries have achieved economic growth at the cost of environment and for this purpose they exploited natural resources, particularly water, forests and land in unsustainable and cruel manner.

Addressing the national consultative workshop on environment, climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, ozone depletion, the minister urged the developing countries to stand united and force these environmental culprits to pay for the global environmental damages and global warming, which is afflicting the economies, people and biodiversity so dangerously.

The event was organised here on Wednesday by the Ministry of Climate Change and Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues.  The minister further said that though these rich countries are now raising slogans of sustainable development and green development and pushing the poor countries to cut their carbon emissions, protect environment, plant more trees, shift towards clean and renewable energy from fossil fuel burning for energy purposes. But he said the developed world was “non-serious” in pursuing the sustainable development agenda and their claims to helping poor countries to deal with negative impacts of climate change were mere hypocrisy on their part,” he highlighted.

“It is matter of grave concern for developing countries that they have been left on their own for coping with climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, cyclones, hurricanes, sea-level rise, land sliding, and river erosion. Whereas, the rich countries continue to increase pace of global warming by increasing their carbon emissions,” he emphasised.

The minister argued that if developed countries were serious about reducing carbon emissions to slow down the pace of climate change then they would had responded generously to the compensation calls for heavy losses borne by the developing countries like Pakistan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh who suffered the national calamities.

“At the very least this says something about the pessimism which surrounds the global carbon emission mitigation effort at the end of rich countries,” he suspects.

Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that a loss and damage mechanism could be built in a way that it assuages wealthy polluting nations’ fears of creeping compensation claims. This could allow some measure of success to emerge to reduce climate change-causing carbon emissions and boost environment friendly policies adaptation in poor countries.

Secretary Climate Change Ministry, Arif Ahmed Khan, told the participants from all over country that his ministry will stand united with the provincial governments in extending all-out support in increasing their capacity-building for fighting common climate change vulnerability issues, particularly against floods which cost billions of rupees in damages to public infrastructure and people’s livelihood.

The event was attended by senior representatives of all provincial governments, international and national non-governmental organisations, National Focal Person of GEF joint secretary at Ministry of Climate Change Aftab Ahmad Maneka, Inspector General of Forests at Ministry of Climate Change, Syed Mahmood Nasir, Director General (Environment & Climate Change) Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, Deputy Secretary (Environment Policy) at Ministry of Climate Change Rehmand Hamid and Ahsanullah of the GEF cell.