On Monday, November 21, 2022, Fair Finance Pakistan (FF Pakistan) launched the “Cancel the Debt for People of Pakistan” campaign, which urges international financial institutions (IFIs) and international partners to immediately cancel Pakistan’s debt and support, instead, climate resilience and investment in essential public services. According to a debtjustice.org report, Pakistan has $12.5 billion of debt repayments due this year alone.
The immediate cancellation of Pakistan’s debt will enable Pakistan to focus not on repayment, but on rebuilding and recovering from the catastrophic floods of 2022. According to the statement by the government of Pakistan, the floods have affected 33 million people and led to economic losses of USD30 billion. Further, Pakistan Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) also reported that over 50 percent of those affected are women and children who are now facing winter without access to shelter, food, and water. About 5 million children in flood-affected areas lack nutritional care, while over 600,000 women are nearing full-term pregnancy without any health services, reported by Population Council and UNFPA respectively. In addition, over one million livestock animals have been killed, and over four million standing crops destroyed.
Pakistan is being forced to pay for a climate catastrophe it did not cause. Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gases but its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change, which has caused glaciers to melt and form about 3,000 lakes that threaten to unleash millions of cubic meters of water and debris at any given time. Climate change is also responsible for more intense and frequent extreme weather events that lead to economic losses, and affect livelihoods, food and water security, and the health of millions of people in our country. Worrying global inaction on climate finance and loss and damage fund will further put countries like Pakistan at high risk of the vicious cycle of debt and climate chaos.
This campaign comes two months after the launch of FF Pakistan’s study, “Pitfalls of Restoring Energy Security with Coal Power Plants in Pakistan,” which makes a strong case that coal-fired power plants add to Pakistan’s sovereign debt burden due to exchange rate fluctuations that may increase debt and affect the ability of Pakistan to repay loans.
To support the campaign, follow FF Pakistan’s twitter and use the hashtag #CancelDebtForPeopleofPakistan
To read FF Pakistan’s campaign Press Release, click here.
To read FF Pakistan’s “Pitfalls of Restoring Energy Security with Coal Power Plants in Pakistan” report, click here.