India tried blocking a $37m Pakistani proposal to protect flood vulnerable communities in its Northern areas. The project had been submitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). During the 14th meeting held in Songdo, South Korea, from the 12-14th October, the GCF board approved projects worth over $745m.
— Santa (@santasa99) October 14, 2016
The Indian representative present, Dinesh Sharma, Special Secretary Indian Finance Ministry, objected to the proposal stating that technical success of the project was based on no future glacial outbursts in the region, which according to the Special Secretary was unlikely. He also mentioned that his objections should not be seen in light of the current tensions between the two countries.
$37m – Pakistan Climate Change Project
Blocked by India
However, other board members expressed disappointment that national issues were being taken up on this international forum meant for all developing countries. The African member, in particular, rebuked him that he was there representing the region – Asia Pacific – and not India. India was the only country that objected to the proposal. The board urged the Indian representative to reconsider its outright rejection and approved the proposal as is shown on the GCF website, subject to an independent assessment by the UNDP submitted. The money would be released once the project is then approved by the GCF board. If approved this would be a large project for the UNDP climate change division in Pakistan. Before this they only have projects worth around $7m.
The Pakistani climate change project was part of a larger block of projects being proposed. The non-approval of this project would have thrown all the others out as well. The GCF board has a goal of approving $2.5bn this year. The next meeting is to be held 13-15 December,2016 in Samoa.
The Express Tribune reports that as of Saturday, officials from the Pakistani Ministry of Climate Change, were not clear if the proposal had been accepted or not. They however quoted the Deputy Director from the department as saying that “despite inadequate technical resources, the ministry managed to prepare the GLOF project for submitting to the GCF board”. In November 2015, during the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Paris – Pakistan was one-off two countries that made no commitments on climate change. This is a sad reflection of the lack of understanding Pakistan has around the importance of climate change both as an environmental and strategic issue.