The interventions of the World Bank in Pakistan focus on the urgent need to strengthen the resilience of water resources to extreme events. This includes enhancing water security, flood risk protection and watershed management.
Pakistan ranks among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. It is prone to natural disasters such as floods, drought and heatwaves, which trigger a multitude of issues. The recent devastating floods of 2022 inundated one-third of the country. They affected 33 million people, mostly in Sindh and Balochistan provinces and caused 1,700 casualties.
In the aftermath of the floods, the World Bank provided an immediate response to the affected regions. It redirected finances for emergency projects on recovery and rehabilitation.
Abedalrazq F. Khalil is Lead Specialist, South Asia Sustainable Development in Pakistan and Sana’s supervisor. He explains, "The World Bank is committed to promoting climate actions across our engagements with the Government of Pakistan, whether in the context of lending, policy and analysis. The Bank extended immediate support to the Government of Pakistan to recover from the 2022 floods, prepare post-disaster needs assessment and immediate recovery plans, and develop longer term climate change and development plans."
National UN Volunteer Sana Khan supports the team in the country as a Research Associate. Her contributions have been largely in support of climate action.
Sana assisted in drafting and researching inputs for updated nationally determined contributions to climate change under the Paris Agreement. Adept at applying a climate lens to development projects, she developed a climate risk screening handbook and supported establishing a voluntary compliance market for carbon credit trading.
Sana has proven a strong asset to the organization in achieving our goals and has performed diligently to demanding timelines. I appreciate her dedication and commitment to deliver, learn and, on many occasions, lead, over the last two years. --Abedalrazq Khalil, Lead Specialist, South Asia Sustainable Development, World Bank, and Sana’s supervisor
Following the floods, UN partners collaborated with the Government to assist communities in preparing for and coping with the effects of disasters on WASH facilities. Sana supported the debate on imperative action to build resilience in the water, sanitation and health (WASH) sector.
"There is an urgent need to develop a national programme on water, sanitation and hygiene, create awareness and build resilience for a sustainable future," Sana underlines.
According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), 53,000 children under five die annually from diarrhoea in Pakistan due to poor water and sanitation. Despite efforts to improve sanitation, 25 million people still practice open defecation, which has a negative impact on their health, well-being and water resources. And only 20 per cent of the population have access to safe drinking water.
Sana's regular day involves meeting with government counterparts, coordinating and joining missions to project sites, supporting project appraisal, organizing workshops and advocating for opportunities to improve her country’s resilience to climate and other environmental threats. Being a national volunteer fills her with pride.
Volunteering fulfils me beyond words. I am able to serve and add value to my community through my research and actions on climate change and other cross-cutting issues. --Sana Khan, national UN Volunteer with the World Bank, Pakistan