Failure to meet deadline for signing pact: Pakistan may lose $3.8 million World Bank fund

26 April 2014

Pakistan has missed the deadline to sign a formal agreement with World Bank (WB) for 3.8 million dollars Readiness Fund of Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) due to bureaucratic hurdles. The FCPF is the World Bank-administered facility that has been set up to compensate developing countries for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions achieved by preserving their forests.

Pakistan secured the funding in December last year to combat climate change and tropical deforestation after a tough competition at Geneva, Switzerland. The deadline to sign the formal agreement for funding with the World Bank was March 31, 2014. A senior official of the Climate Change Division told Business Recorder on Friday that an agreement letter was dispatched to Economic Affairs Division in January this year for approval.

"Under the law, it was duty of the Secretary Economic Affairs Division to sign the agreement with World Bank but he failed to do so," the official said. Following continuous push from office of Inspector General (Forest), the economic affairs division has now dispatched the agreement draft to Ministry of Law and Justice for vetting. "It is likely that law ministry would take another three months to vet the draft agreement," he said.

A total of eight new countries out of 27 in the race were selected for the FCPF fund after Norway pledged $100 million to the fund. The countries selected for the fund included Pakistan, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cote d'lvoire, Fiji, Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Togo. The official said that the World Bank may now deny the fund to Pakistan for missing the deadline and grant it to another runner-up country. "This would bring a bad name to Pakistan, besides hampering the efforts to preserve our forests and cope with the climate change," the official said.

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