WE are living through a turbulent time in history. The changes that have taken place in the last 100 years are both a cause for celebration and a matter of concern. From the wounds of world wars to the economic transformation, and from the miracles of science and technology to the climate crisis — all are part of a lived experience that has altered the geopolitical and geo-economic landscape of the planet that we call home.

Today, we face a troubling convergence of climate crisis, armed conflict, soaring interest rates, and escalating debt burdens in many nations. The lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges. This complex scenario poses significant obstacles to achieving the global climate objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Broadly speaking, the challenges are myriad and solution pathways vary. However, there is a need for prioritising actions and coalescing multiple streams into a point of convergence for strengthening resilience. In moving forward, it is important to leverage learning to set priorities for an implementable action agenda. Right now, all actors should focus on designing their diplomatic strategies to increase space for multilateral discussions and action on climate and nature taking into account the need for:

It is going to be a decade of difficult decisions.

  1. Increasing ambition on Nationally Determined Contributions and implementing commitments through national and subnational policies informed by the Global Stock-take and the findings of the Inter­governmental Panel on Climate Change.
  2. Emphasising the need to move away from current fossil fuel approaches in a just, orderly and equitable manner, making sure that ambition and commitments at the international level are implementable at the domestic level.
  3. Unlocking finance and making it fit for purpose by building a fairer economic and financial system that ensures scaling up public and private finance and making it available equitably to meet the escalating need for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and nature conservation. This includes negotiations on a ‘New Collective Quantified Goal’ for climate finance, growing momentum for connecting the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and ongoing focus on the urgency for reform in the global financial architecture.
  4. Accelerating technology development for transitioning to renewable energy and investing simultaneously in technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions.

A sequence of events this year will provide opportunities to move forward on these priorities with a focus on implementation. This includes meetings of the G7, G20, UNFCCC work programmes and intersessional sessions in Bonn as well as the IMF-World Bank meetings, Clean Energy Ministerial and Summit of the Future on the road to COP29.

The year 2025 will mark the halfway point in this ‘critical decade’. It will also be the next forcing moment of the Paris Agreement ambition cycle with the parties expected to submit new and enhanced climate plans.

For countries in South Asia, this is going to be a decade of difficult decisions. Living on the arc of vulnerability that stretches from the cryosphere to the coast, the impacts on the Third Pole will not remain confined to the two billion people who share water, air and land resources. Its cascading impact will destabilise the global climatic regime, disrupt supply chains, and throw the global economy in a flux, creating conditions for conflict.

A South Asia caught in a climate crisis me­­ans pushing one quarter of the global population into turmoil. It also means depriving a large young cohort of a fair future and exposing women, who constitute approximately half the population, to higher risks.

Fintech provides yet another opportunity for bringing countries in South Asia on one platform. It is a critical component of any climate solution strategy to ensure a better, brighter and beneficent future. Fintech integration should not be seen only as an instrument for meeting climate targets but as an investment in regional peace, security and stabilisation.

We are living in unusual times where it is imperative to overcome divisions and work together to achieve objectives shared under the Paris Agreement. We need to uphold the spirit of deep cooperation that led to its conclusion in 2015, and see it as essential to any climate-win scenario.

Pakistan needs to plan for a future in which business as usual may not be the best option to cope with a future beset by challenges. This is a realisation that needs to be acknowledged across party lines, society and diaspora to survive this critical decade.

The writer is chief executive of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.