Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued the following statement today (7 July) prior to her departure for the OSCE High-Level Conference on Climate Change in Vienna:
Smoke particles from the Canadian wildfires are colouring sunsets on Spain’s western coast a glowing red. Hundreds of people in Spain are fleeing their homes in the face of burning forests. And in Kazakhstan people are dying as a result of huge forest fires. This is just a snapshot of the very real climate impacts we have seen in the early summer.
The climate crisis has hit the OSCE countries, too, with full force, across continents; it knows no borders, and it is endangering the security of each and every one of us. That is why it is important that the OSCE, as a security organisation, also looks at the climate issue. Because climate change mitigation, more than any other issue, requires cross-border cooperation and concrete action. That is why I will be advocating in Vienna today for a new OSCE climate fund and offering up to two million euro from Germany for the purpose.
The Russian Government is trying to paralyse the OSCE from within. But we will not allow it to do so. Since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, a war which Belarus supports, we have clearly seen that the other 55 OSCE participating States are not letting themselves be held back – they want to advance the OSCE. The countries in Central Asia in particular are looking for closer links with Europe on security issues. We have just pledged an additional three million euro for OSCE projects in the region.
In these challenging times, I am glad that in Helga Schmid we have such an experienced diplomat at the helm of the OSCE.