Declaration on climate change and solidarity with Pakistan

XXVI Congress of the Socialist International, Madrid

25-27 November 2022

1. The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 25-27 November 2022, held discussions based on the theme “Halting and Reversing Climate Change”.

2. The fight against global warming has been central to the work of our International family for many years, and as we witness more and more extreme weather events around the globe it has never been more imperative to reiterate the commitment of the SI to work together to halt and reverse climate change and to renew our call for climate justice. SI acknowledges that the contribution of developing economies like Pakistan to climate change is negligible. Yet they are among the most climate-stressed communities and countries and expresses solidarity with the people of Pakistan who have been severely affected by the recent catastrophic floods as a result of climate change. The catastrophic climate-induced floods in Pakistan resulted in a third of the country drowned under water, affecting 90 districts, with Balochistan and Sindh being the worst-hit provinces, shattering the lives of over 33 million, death of over 1700, and losses and damages over US$ 40 billion to agriculture, livestock and infrastructure. The people of Pakistan, especially the most vulnerable, bore the brunt of the impact, as crops were destroyed, homes washed away and lives lost as a result of the unprecedented floods.

3. Whilst the stronger commitments hoped for at the COP27Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh remain yet unfulfilled, discussions did result in some hopeful agreements. The most promising is the loss and damage fund that will provide money to the poorest and most vulnerable nations to rebuild after climate disasters, and which finally formally recognises the wide-reaching inequalities of the climate crisis. The SI acknowledges with great appreciation the efforts of our comrades from Pakistan Peoples Party who are in the coalition Government in Pakistan, for not only making an all-out effort to support the disaster-stricken people, but also sensitizing the international community as well as leading the Group of 77 and China in successfully securing an agreement in the outcome document of COP27 on the establishment of a fund to support vulnerable communities and countries to prepare for and recover from the ‘losses and damages’ caused by climate-induced disasters and slow-onset events. Although there are clearly huge challenges ahead in terms of implementation and funding of this new development, it does represent a breakthrough in acknowledging the disproportionate effects of climate change and this is a crucial step forward.

4. The COP27 could have achieved far more, and the SI will not cease in calling for stronger commitments in the months to come. Despite claims that the agreement ‘keeps 1.5 alive’, a continued lack of consensus on achieving this is deeply worrying and it appears that a credible pathway to the 1.5C limit is much diminished. While the text adopted at COP27 reiterates the importance of keeping global temperature rises to 1.5C and acknowledges the vast difference between 2C and 1.5C in terms of the impacts of climate change, much firmer action is needed.

5. In this regard, SI emphatically calls for early and full operationalization of a fit-for-purpose Fund for Responding to “Loss and Damage”, established during the recently held United Nations Climate Change Conference COP-27 to support vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters;

6. The SI further calls on the developed countries to ensure sustained, predictable and sufficient financing for the Fund;

7. The SI concurs with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window which outlines how the actions taken to date by the international community fall short of that which is required to meet the Paris goals. The SI was particularly disheartened that there was no agreement to extend the ambition stated in Glasgow on phasing out coal to include all fossil fuels, a necessary step if there is to be any hope of sufficient reductions in emissions. Further, updated national pledges since COP26 make a negligible difference to predicted 2030 emissions, currently leaving the world on course for a temperature rise by the end of the century in excess of 2.5 C.

8. The SI remains deeply concerned over these shortfalls and acknowledges that we may already have passed the point of no return in terms of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. The past eight years have been the eight warmest on record, and ocean heat is also at record levels. It seems unquestionable that our planet will face more frequent and more severe climate impacts and it is evident that this poses a great threat to life. We are already witnessing violations of the most basic of human rights worldwide as a consequence of climate change, which includes the right to life, health, food, development, self-determination, water and sanitation, work, adequate housing and freedom from violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and slavery. Climate science is increasingly able to show that many of the extreme weather events that we are experiencing have become more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change. This year alone has seen a great number of extreme weather events, including devastating floods in Pakistan, heatwaves and wildfires in Europe, and drought and famine in Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia. Pakistan is at the forefront of the devastating impacts of climate change this year.  Like many other developing countries, Pakistan is not a major contributor to climate change. It is only responsible for less than 1% of Global Greenhouse Gas emissions. Yet it is the eighth most climate-stressed country on the planet. The fact that the most climate-stressed countries are also debt stressed, further exacerbates the situation. What has happened in Pakistan, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia and countries in Europe is bound to repeat itself, in the shape of floods, typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes and even droughts in other places around the world. It is time for the international community to come together to better prepare for what is inevitably expected in future. We must build back better, greener, more sustainable and more resilient.

9. In this regard, the SI stands with the people of Pakistan facing the climate catastrophe and assures of its support to this nation of resilient people, and Salutes the brave and resilient people in the flood-affected areas of Pakistan, and stands with them in full solidarity as they undertake heroic efforts to resume normalcy;

10. The SI also supports the Flash Appeal of the UN Secretary General to address the urgent needs of the disaster struck people of Pakistan as well as to fulfil the long-term assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation and calls upon SI member states to, in the spirit of burden sharing, work through their representation in their respective parliaments to ensure adequate support to our comrades from Pakistan Peoples Party, the government and the people of Pakistan;

11. Calls upon all Social Democratic governments to ensure financial, capacity building and technical support to Pakistan to help them rebuild in a greener, more sustainable and more resilient manner.