UN Secretary-General António Guterres will make a ‘solidarity’ visit to Pakistan on September 9 and 10 after the country was ravaged by unprecedented floods, said the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson on Thursday.
“During the visit, Secretary General Guterres will have meetings with the Pakistani leadership and senior officials to exchange views on the national and global response to this catastrophe caused by climate change,” said the FO in a statement.
“The Secretary-General will travel to areas most impacted by the floods. He will interact with displaced families and first responders in the field, and oversee UN’s humanitarian response work in support of the Government’s rescue and relief efforts for millions of affected people,” it added.
The FO further said that Guterres’ visit will further raise global awareness about the massive scale of this calamity and the loss of life and widespread devastation. “It will contribute towards enhancing commensurate and coordinated international response to the humanitarian and other needs of the 33 million affected Pakistanis.”
The UN secretary-general has actively supported the $160 million UN “Flash Appeal” to fund Pakistan’s Flood Response Plan.
“The UNSG has been consistently stressing the linkage of such disasters with the impacts of climate change and warning the international community about the existential threat to our planet in case climate change was not addressed in a timely and effective manner,” the FO said.
The visit by the senior UN diplomat is also expected to highlight the importance of sustained international support for Pakistan through the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase and for building resilience against future climate shocks.
Pakistan’s permanent UN representative Munir Akram had welcomed the announcement of UN Chief’s visit to Pakistan. “This is a demonstration of his solidarity with the people & Govt of Pakistan in this hour of need & his determination to mobilize the entire UN system to respond to this human catastrophe,” he said on Twitter.