EU and Pakistan agree to jointly tackle climate issues

ISLAMABAD:

The European Union and Pakistan have agreed to further cooperate to address the challenges of climate change, especially after the recent floods that devastated the country.

The development came during the 12th meeting of the European Union (EU)-Pakistan Joint Commission held in Islamabad on October 5 to exchange views on all areas of cooperation between the EU and Pakistan.

The joint committee was co-chaired by Gunnar Wiegand, director general for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service, and Muhammad Humair Karim, secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Representatives of relevant Pakistani government ministries as well as the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the EU and observers from Member States of the EU also participated in the meeting.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, the EU expressed its solidarity with those affected by the unprecedented climate-induced floods that are ravaging the country and informed of its contribution to meeting the most urgent needs. of the affected population.

Pakistan welcomed the support of the EU and its Member States in mobilizing funds of €123 million as well as in-kind assistance for the relief efforts. Pakistan also stressed the need for additional assistance for the recovery and reconstruction phase.

Both sides underlined the importance of bilateral trade relations, noting that the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) led to its increase to 12.2 billion euros in 2021.

They presented the results of the trade subgroup meeting and discussed ways to address issues that hamper business and investment.

The EU highlighted the effective implementation of the 27 international conventions related to GSP+; and Pakistan reaffirmed its strong commitment in this regard.

They also discussed strengthening cooperation in the areas of agriculture, food safety and quality standards.

The Joint Committee was informed of the results of the meeting of the sub-group on democracy, governance, rule of law and human rights.

Pakistan and the EU discussed civil and political rights, the rights of persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups and freedom of religion or belief, including concerns about anti-Muslim hatred.

They discussed the role of civil society organizations, freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of the media and the fight against disinformation.

Pakistan informed the participants of measures taken to strengthen access to justice and reforms related to the application of the death penalty. The EU welcomed Pakistani legislation on the protection of women’s and children’s rights, the protection of transgender people, as well as the protection of journalists.

The two sides discussed legislative proposals, namely the Anti-Torture Bill and the Enforced Disappearance Bill.

They also discussed the process of electoral reforms, including the recommendations made by the 2018 Election Observation Mission.

Both parties reiterated their commitment to multilateralism and the UN Charter. The Joint Committee was informed of the results of the sub-group on development cooperation.

The EU and Pakistan took stock of progress in ongoing actions and exchanged information on the new EU programming cycle.

The EU and Pakistan also exchanged views on future agendas and longer-term development needs, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The EU informed Pakistan of the existence of Global Gateway, a €300 billion co-investment strategy rooted in partnership, sustainability and the rule of law.

The EU and Pakistan underlined their commitment to closer cooperation on a comprehensive approach to migration.

This includes joint efforts to work towards new opportunities for legal migration as well as the full and effective implementation of the EU-Pakistan readmission agreement.

They agreed to launch a global dialogue on migration and mobility before the end of the year. They also discussed cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science and technology, as well as connectivity and digitization.

Besides bilateral cooperation, the two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues, including Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

They stressed the need to find peaceful solutions to conflicts in full respect of the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The EU welcomed Pakistan’s progress in implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plans. It was agreed that the next session of the EU-Pakistan Joint Committee will be held in Brussels in 2023.

(With APP input)

Teresa H. Sadler