ADB says next 5-year partnership plan for Pakistan expected to build foundation for increased climate portfolio

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) next Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Pakistan, which is currently in preparation, is expected to build the foundation for an increased climate portfolio in the next five years, ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov has said.

He shared this information about the CPS — the Manila-based lending agency’s primary platform for designing operations to deliver development results at the country level — during a press briefing on sidelines of the ADB’s 56th Annual Meeting in South Korea’s Incheon.

A statement issued by the ADB further quoted him as saying that Pakistan was at the top of the list of countries where project financing during 2023 would be the highest.

Zhukov said priority sectors for financing included transport, energy, urban development, climate resilience, disaster preparedness and food security.

“Projects are in the pipeline and will be finalised soon, following which total financing will be estimated,” he added.

Moreover, Zhukov said that the ADB was working with the Pakistani government to explore an energy transition mechanism — a scalable and collaborative initiative that uses concessional and commercial capital to retire or repurpose existing coal and other fossil fuel plants on an accelerated schedule, replacing them with clean power capacity.

The ADB official further stated that a regional climate change strategy and action plan for central and West Asia was being prepared and the ADB climate financing in the region would mainly focus on energy, agriculture and transport projects.

He added the ADB has raised its ambition to deliver at least $100 billion in climate financing across Asia and the Pacific for 2019-2030.

In 2022, the ADB committed $6.7bn in climate financing, including over $890 million in central and West Asia, the lending agency said in its statement.

The statement also referred to a study released by the ADB today.

The study, titled ‘Supporting Regional Actions to Address Climate Change’, warned that water scarcity would increase the risk of desertification and reductions in agricultural productivity — aggravating Pakistan’s dependence on external food supplies and putting a large number of people at risk of food insecurity, the ADB statement elaborated.

According to the study, it added, climate change is expected to have severe impacts on the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) region, which includes Central Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan, China and South Caucasus.

The study says that Pakistan is one of the three countries in the CAREC region — together with Georgia and China — that has an ocean coastline and thus faces the risks associated with expected sea level rise.

It identifies heatwaves, shrinking glaciers, water shortages, and both droughts and floods as the largest problems that Pakistan is experiencing in relation to the impacts of climate change.

Higher-than-average temperature rises are likely to lead to greater water scarcity, expanded desertification, and more extreme weather events like floods and droughts, it adds.

According to the study, the CAREC region contributes to carbon emissions causing climate change and is highly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change with significant regional dimensions.