Following back-to-back visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, FDFA head Ignazio Cassis travels to Pakistan on 8 and 9 July at the invitation of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The visit underscores Switzerland's strong solidarity with the country following the worst floods of the century in 2022. Climate change poses a significant challenge for the entire South Asian region: Pakistan is experiencing rising sea levels, increasingly intense monsoon rainfalls and accelerated melting of glaciers. The MoU signed this morning aims to foster increased collaboration, particularly by pooling resources, knowledge and experience in disaster risk management.
After Switzerland's assistance in 2022, the head of the FDFA made a further commitment to Pakistan in January 2023 at the UN conference on flooding in Pakistan in Geneva. On that occasion, Federal Councillor Cassis expressed his desire to sign an MoU for closer cooperation with Pakistan on disaster risk management as soon as possible.
Given the geopolitical situation in the region, Pakistan is facing a number of crises, including the influx of migrants. The visit to Islamabad provided an opportunity to address these and other issues, such as climate challenges, investment in infrastructure, respect for religious minorities, the development of tourism services and scientific cooperation. Together with the Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, the Swiss delegation analysed the consequences of the 2022 floods and took a closer look at the state of rehabilitation work. Finally, in the Pakistani capital, Federal Councillor Cassis was able to hold talks with a number of political and business representatives.
Switzerland and Pakistan share a long history of diplomatic relations. Following the 1965 war between Pakistan and India, Switzerland represented the interests of both nations on a reciprocal basis.With a population of over 230 million people, Pakistan is the world's fifth most populous country and possesses untapped economic potential.
In Karachi tomorrow, the head of the FDFA and his delegation will have the opportunity to meet the regional authorities of the dynamic province of Sindh. The Federal Councillor will visit Swiss companies based in Karachi and will hold talks with their managers at a dinner organized with the Swiss Business Council.
In addition to the members of his official delegation, Mr Cassis is accompanied by National Councillors Greta Gysin (Swiss Green Party/Ticino), Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter (The Centre/Basel-Landschaft) and Christian Wasserfallen (FDP.The Liberals/Bern).
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