PARIS – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday arrived here in the French capital on a two-day visit to represent Pakistan at the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21).
The prime minister is accompanied by First Lady Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif and his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi. They were received at the Orly Airport by Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid, Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal and other senior officials.
He would deliver his speech on November 30 – opening day of the two-week event – which is scheduled to be attended and addressed by 147 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Nawaz – who in his address is expected to highlight Pakistan’s efforts in tackling the climate change challenges – would also join the world leaders at a lunch to be hosted by French President Francois Hollande in honour of the heads of state and government.
The main events of the COP21 are taking place at Le Bourget, outside the city centre, where French authorities have taken stringent security measures to keep the site safe.
Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid said the Paris conference was important for Pakistan as it was among those countries producing minimal level of emissions.
He said that Pakistan also expected the world to provide required resources and technology to tackle the challenges of climate change in the wake of its enhanced focus on development in the areas of energy and water shortages and the ongoing work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal said that besides addressing the conference, Prime Minister Nawaz would also have an informal meeting with French President Francois Hollande and express Pakistan’s solidarity with the government and people of France over the November 13 terror attacks.
He also highlighted the challenges of melting glaciers, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters faced by Pakistan due to climate changes and said the conference would take up such issues. According to some international reports – Ambassador Iqbal said – Pakistan could touch dangerous level in terms of water scarcity by 2050.