By Naveed Meraj and Shahid Qureshi
ISLAMABAD: The British High Commission in Islamabad hosted the first ‘King’s Birthday Party’ since 1951 on Tuesday (14 November), marking King Charles III’s 75th birthday.
Utilised as a ‘national day’ by the UK, the event had an environment and climate change theme. This was reflective of both the King’s interests and the high priority given to this work by the UK. Speaking to an audience of over 700 high profile attendees, including the chief guest, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott CMG OBE, outlined the depth of UK-Pakistani cooperation on the environment and climate change. Noting that since the 2022 floods, the UK has more than doubled investment in climate finance, and climate resilience and adaptation in Pakistan.
Jane Marriott also used the occasion to announce the start of two new climate related initiatives. This included the start of phase 2 of the UK’s Climate Finance Accelerator Programme, which will see eight innovative Pakistani-based projects receive technical support to help them find private investment to tackle climate-related issues.
As well as a new programme to expand a piloted AI-based ‘Early Warning Forest Fire Detection System’ to cover more forested areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as the Federal Capital Territory, which will help protect lives, jobs, livelihoods and Pakistan’s biodiversity.
UK High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott CMG OBE said: “With terrible conflicts occurring around the world, international focus on climate change is being tested. However, with COP28 just round the corner, and with time not on our side, it is essential that conversations and actions on climate change continue. We are utilising our King’s Birthday Party – the UK’s National Day – events to do just this, with conversations ranging from how to build on Pakistan’s negotiating success on a Loss and Damage Fund at COP27, to how Pakistan can safeguard its marine economy via the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter.”
The King’s Official Birthday is the selected day on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated. It does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch’s actual birth. Though in this case it does with King Charles turning 75 on the 14 November. The day is treated as the national day of the United Kingdom.
This is the first King’s Birthday Party since 1951 and the first time a UK monarch’s birthday has been celebrated since the death of, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022.
The UK’s Pakistan Network will celebrate the KBP with events in Islamabad (14 Nov), Lahore (16 Nov) and Karachi (17 Nov) – all will be environment & climate themed.
His Majesty the King’s coronation occurred on Saturday, 6 May, 2023. The Coronation Ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey, London, and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Ceremony saw His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside The Queen Consort.
Tackling the effects of Climate Change remains a priority for the UK. In September UK pledged $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund, (of which Pakistan is a beneficiary), the biggest single funding commitment the UK has made to help the world tackle climate change. Since 2011 UK climate aid spending has helped over 95m people cope with effects of climate change and reduced or avoided over 68m tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This goes hand in hand with UK’s domestic transition to clean forms of energy. UK has cut emissions faster than any G7 country. Low carbon sources now provide half of the UK’s electricity.
The UK is committed to working in partnership with Pakistan to improve climate resilience and address financing needs to tackle climate change. We are making good progress with wide ranging collaborative and innovative projects – from our 5-year water governance programme which has improved the resilience of over 2 million people through nature-based interventions to the development of a Pakistan Climate Investment Fund which will mobilise private sector climate finance for projects that strengthen Pakistan’s climate resilience.
The UK is also making its voice heard in the multilateral system to influence environmental outcomes to benefit Pakistan. In the UAE at COP28, the UK will be tirelessly advocating to ensure that this COP delivers an outcome that puts the world on track to 1) keep temperature rise below 1.5C by halving global emissions by 2030, 2) build resilience to current and future climate impacts, and 3) halt and reverse global biodiversity loss – by 2030.