As a former German Consul General, Holger Ziegeler oversaw diplomatic work in the United States, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Pakistan. This article will look at Pakistan’s climate crisis, outlining support efforts made by Germany – including a $90 million pledge made by Berlin to help Pakistan mitigate the impact of climate change.
Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate catastrophes triggered by global warming, despite the fact that the nation accounts for less than 1% of total global greenhouse gas emissions according to international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Muhammad Bakhshal is a resident of Chandan Mori, a village in Dadu in southern Pakistan. The region saw massive floods in 2022. Mr Bakhshal said he had never seen such rainfall and floods in his life, explaining that even four months after the floods people were still living in temporary camps on the roadside near the village.
The floods, which experts have attributed to a combination of melting glaciers and record monsoon rains, killed at least 1,700 individuals, displacing a further 8 million people across Pakistan.
In Dadu, as in numerous other towns and villages in Pakistan, many families rely on raising livestock as their livelihood. Muhammad Bakhshal lost two dozen cattle in the floods, leaving him with effectively no income. Experts warn that millions of Pakistanis will face a similar situation.
In the summer of 2022 the German Consulate General staged a relief program, distributing food to families across Balochistan province in the wake of catastrophic flooding. Working in partnership with the Balochistan Rural Support Programme, the German Consulate General implemented the project with the mission of providing food aid for 1,000 families in Balochistan’s Lasbela District for a two-month period.
In a press release, the Consul General of Germany at the time, Holger Ziegeler, said he was shocked by the devastation caused by the floods, acknowledging that it was heartbreaking to see the provinces that he and his wife had fallen in love with in such a devastating state. Mr Ziegeler highlighted the need for an urgent response to protect the wellbeing of his host provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, pointing out that it was difficult not to feel deeply moved after seeing such descriptions of tragedy. Holger Ziegeler said that the relief was intended to help flood-stricken families with immediate nutrition needs, allowing them to focus on other pressing issues.
In January 2023, Berlin announced that it would be providing $90 million in funding to Pakistan to help the country raise the billions required to adapt to climate change. Speaking at a UN international conference in Geneva in January 2023, Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, asserted that the flooding was a crisis that Pakistan could not overcome alone.
Also speaking at the event, UN Development Programme Head Achim Steiner reiterated that the solidarity of the world community was called for in a disaster of such magnitude, pointing out that the recovery of Pakistan’s economy was in everyone’s interests. Mr Steiner warned that a failure to tackle the situation quickly could result in increased migration and potentially radicalization and extremism.
The funding from Berlin will be used to finance projects such as drainage systems and rainwater retention basins to prevent flooding in the future. Previously, Germany had already pledged around $70 million to fund reparations and deal with social consequences across Pakistan following the devastating floods of 2022.