Spending $10 billion.

THE world's first donor conference in Geneva, convened specifically to support the victims of climate-induced disaster, has pledged more than $10 billion for Pakistan. This offers Pakistan a rare opportunity to shed its image of a passive recipient of climate disasters. Instead of being a victim only, the country can now undertake a series of well-deliberated, long-term measures for strengthening the resilience of its people and infrastructure.

The strategic vision shared by the Pakistani leadership with the international community at the conference was that Pakistan will pursue social inclusion and participation as a strategic objective. How can Pakistan honour this commitment, or spend the $10bn put on the table? This is as good a time as any to initiate reforms to reduce climate vulnerability, consolidate these partnerships, and build back stronger and faster.

Resilient development is not possible without institutional reforms. The urgency is staring us in the face with a current price tag of eight per cent GDP loss and projected GDP shrinking 20pc by 2050. In fact, resilience, reforms and economic development have become intrinsically linked. Pakistan's existing political and economic systems breed climate vulnerability, made worse by food and water insecurity, degraded land and polluted air. The proposition is relatively straightforward: higher degree of preparedness can help us avoid public and private losses from climate-induced disasters. Resources saved can be invested on climate-smart development.

But no matter how important, reforms are always driven by local politics. They are particularly hard to undertake in a traditional society. Provinces and regions in our federal system are governed by different political parties who jealously guard their autonomy. Pursuing a reform agenda is particularly challenging in the present political context where consensus-building in a coalition government can be risky and time-consuming. The first order of business is to build political consensus that reforms for climate security are essential and cannot be postponed any longer. Fortunately, most of the essential institutional, legal and economic reforms are part of the unfinished agenda of the 18th Amendment that enjoys national consensus, except for occasional dissension by some interest groups.

Not all international pledges will be delivered this month or during this fiscal year, even if many are recounted, recycled and repurposed existing...

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