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US Envoy Donald Blome visits Quetta

QUETTA: US Ambassador Donald Blome arrived here on Wednesday (23rd of November 2022) to meet the Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, local partners working to advance climate change adaptation, representatives of higher education institutions, leaders of local NGOs, and Afghan refugees.

During his visit, Ambassador Donald Blome discussed US efforts to combat the effects of climate change through a Green Alliance with diverse partners in Pakistan and underscored the strong cooperation between the United States and Pakistan on promoting economic development through higher education and women’s empowerment.

Ambassador Blome participated in a community tree planting drive that will become part of a larger project to develop an urban forest in the city of Quetta.

The project, led by youth activists, aims to advance climate change adaptation, raise climate risk awareness, 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 had provided more than 97 million dollars in flood-related assistance to Pakistan this year, including to individuals and communities in need in Balochistan.

“But we know that the effects of the flooding are far from over, and every nation faces the threat of climate change. So, we’re working with diverse partners to increase Pakistan’s resilience to climate change through a Green Alliance,” Ambassador Donald Blome said.

During the trip, Ambassador Blome also met the leadership from the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences and the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University to discuss how US government support has helped them respond to local economic development needs in their academic programs.

The United States, through USAID, has provided scholarships to almost 300 students—56 percent of them women—to pursue higher education at the institutions and further their communities’ economic development.

Entrepowered—Women Can Do

In remarks at the launch event of Entrepowered—Women Can Do, a program that will provide $350,000 of seed funding to women entrepreneurs in Balochistan, Ambassador Blome said: “The United States believes that empowering women is a strategic investment in the future for both private citizens and the global economy.

” By working together on projects like Entrepowered, we can advance women’s equality in the business sector and unleash a vast potential that will help bring prosperity to Quetta and Balochistan.”

The United States is also supporting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) livelihoods program in Quetta.

This fosters economic development for Afghan refugees and local artisans.

It is pertinent to mention here that since 2009, UNHCR, with US funding, has implemented 251 projects in Balochistan to provide infrastructure upgrades to schools, water and sanitation improvements, and health facility upgrades for both Afghan refugees and Pakistani host communities.

Ambassador Blome also visited the Command and Staff College in Quetta and met the Commandant Major General Amer Ahsan Nawaz, XII Corps Commander Lieutenant General Asif Ghafoor and mid-career army officers.

They discussed the long history of Pak-US relations in diverse areas.

Ambassador Donald Blome emphasized opportunities to work together today, including to build a Green Alliance to support Pakistan’s transition to cleaner and sustainable forms of energy, and to advance shared 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 spanning the education, economic, health, and rule of law sectors and beyond.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.

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