And we try to refute the Russian narrative about the war against Ukraine, which blames the West for all evil, in direct conversations. Putin is the criminal against humanity, you can see that every day in the terrible pictures from the war. And I think that’s increasingly being seen in other parts of the world as well.
The need for investment in infrastructure is huge. That is why it is so important that there are alternatives to what China is offering developing countries.
Many of our partner countries are sobered by the experiences with China. China’s investments are often opaque, create strong dependencies, and have helped many countries find themselves now in a debt trap. Everything has its price. We can score with sustainability, transparency and quality.
This infamy takes your breath away. If Putin’s terror against Ukraine were simply accepted, the poor would continue to foot the bill. Because that would be a world without security and values, in which only the rights of the strongest would count.
That’s why we’re doing everything we can to stop this war as soon as possible. But it is also true that Putin uses Russia’s wheat and fertilizer exports as a means of exerting political pressure and, above all, supplies those who are pro-Russian.
That’s why we don’t just have to stop emitting carbon dioxide. We also need to help those who are already being harmed today and who are at risk of further significant harm. The countries of the Global South need our solidarity.
My goal is to start this protective umbrella at the world climate conference in Egypt in November together with the particularly vulnerable developing countries and then gradually expand it.
For example, if a small farmer loses her entire harvest in a drought, she should be able to get money for new seeds quickly and easily. In this way she can continue to work, does not fall into even deeper poverty and can continue to provide herself and others with food. All of this saves money in the end, because humanitarian emergency aid afterwards is always more expensive than forward-looking support.
In doing so, we not only want to protect against climate damage, but also advance the energy transition in developing and emerging countries or improve adaptation to climate change. The promise is that the industrialized countries will collectively mobilize $100 billion each year to address the climate crisis in developing countries. And we have to comply with that.
Above all, we want three things in this alliance: mobilize more money, coordinate support better and make agricultural systems more crisis-proof. We need to enable more countries to start growing their own food again. Many have focused on cotton or coffee for export, relying on cheap imports of food for their own needs.
If there is a disruption in the supply chain, as is the case now, it immediately has massive consequences. So it’s not just about food packages, but above all about enabling climate-adapted, sustainable agriculture on site.
At least talks are now taking place between Ukraine and Russia on grain exports. This is a glimmer of hope, as the UN Secretary-General said. But there is more to a sustainable and climate-adapted solution:
We need to create alternatives to the wheat, corn and rice that have dominated the world’s diet so far, and we need to enable more sustainable local production. An example: In Kenya, wheat flour is now being replaced by sweet potato flour. This is a project we initiated that helps to use less wheat and still be able to produce bread and groceries.
For 2023, the Finance Minister has planned a provision of five billion euros for unforeseen consequences of the crisis, which the Federal Foreign Office and the Development Ministry can primarily access. In view of the current world situation, it is to be feared that this will also be sorely needed.