Islamabad, November 23, 2022 – US Ambassador Donald Blome visited Quetta, Balochistan on November 23 to meet with Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, local partners working to better adapt to climate change, representatives of higher education institutions, leaders of local NGOs and Afghans meet refugees. During his visit, Ambassador Blome discussed U.S. efforts to address the impacts of climate change through a Green Alliance with various partners in Pakistan, and underscored the close cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in promoting economic development through higher education and role empowerment the woman.
Ambassador Blome participated in a community tree planting event that will become part of a larger urban forest development project in the city of Quetta. Led by youth activists, the project aims to advance climate change adaptation, raise awareness of climate risks and increase community resilience to climate change by providing a platform to bring diverse groups together for collective societal benefit.
At the event, the ambassador highlighted that the US government has provided more than $97 million in flood relief to Pakistan this year, including to individuals and communities in need in Balochistan. “But we know the impact of the flooding is far from over and every nation faces the threat of climate change. Therefore, we are working with various partners to increase Pakistan’s climate change resilience through a Green Alliance,” he said.
During the trip, Ambassador Blome also met with leaders from Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences and Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University to discuss how U.S. government support has helped them expand their academic programs to local ones address economic development needs. The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided scholarships to nearly 300 students — 56 percent of whom are women — to pursue higher education at the institutions and promote economic development in their communities.
Commenting at the launch event of Entrepowered – Women Can Do, a program that will provide $350,000 in seed funding to women entrepreneurs in Baluchistan, Ambassador Blome said, “The United States believes that empowering women a strategic investment in the future is both private individuals and the world economy. By working together on projects like Entrepowered, we can advance women’s equality in business and unlock tremendous potential that will help bring prosperity to Quetta and Baluchistan.”
The United States is also proud to support the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) livelihood program in Quetta, which promotes the economic development of Afghan refugees and local artisans. Since 2009, UNHCR has implemented 251 projects in Balochistan with US funding to improve school infrastructure, water, sanitation and health facilities for both Afghan refugees and Pakistani host communities.
Ambassador Blome also visited the Command and Staff Academy in Quetta and met with Commander Maj Gen Amer Ahsan Nawaz, Commander of the XII Opportunities to work together today, including building a Green Alliance, to support Pakistan’s transition to cleaner and sustainable forms of energy and ours advance common interests in trade, investment, health security, climate change, inclusive governance and regional security.
The United States has a broad, deep, and long-term partnership with the people of Balochistan province that spans education, business, health, and the rule of law and beyond. We look forward to further deepening and expanding these relationships in the coming years. Together we can promote a more stable, secure and prosperous future for our two nations.