„All of Liechtenstein's government action is geared toward sustainability“
Liechtenstein's Ambassador to Germany, Isabel Frommelt-Gottschald, comments on the special relationship between the two countries and the urgent need to advocate for more climate protection.
Ms. Frommelt-Gottschald, you have been resident in Berlin as Liechtenstein's Ambassador since 2017. In your view, what distinguishes the relationship between Liechtenstein and Germany?
Both countries are linked by a close partnership that has grown historically. We share the same cultural circle and the same language, and there are many different political and economic ties. We share Europe as a common project – with all its advantages as well as challenges. These include Brexit, global power shifts, digitalization or the issue of cyber security.
Sustainability and climate protection are further issues that affect us all ...
That's right. We attach very great importance to this topical area, both nationally and internationally. For us as an alpine state, the effects associated with the climate crisis, such as falling rocks or melting glaciers, are certainly a problem. Other countries are increasingly faced with droughts, violent storms or flooding. The climate crisis has become a global security problem that we urgently need to counter. Together with Germany and the other countries, our goal is to find effective solutions.
What will it take to enhance cooperation on climate protection even more in the future?
Every country, whether large or small, must take responsibility. No matter how good the measures developed by a single state are, for as long as we are strongly connected internationally, we need solutions that are effective on a global scale. I am convinced that particularly small countries can provide new impetus and thus serve as model states. Liechtenstein, for example, has managed to decouple economic and population growth from greenhouse gas emissions. In the past 30 years, economic growth has roughly quadrupled, while the population has grown by about a third. CO2 emissions, on the other hand, have fallen by 20 percent. Consequently, Liechtenstein currently has one of the lowest per capita emissions of all countries in Europe. We have only been able to achieve this through a significant increase in energy efficiency and the massive expansion of renewable energies, especially solar energy. Of course, another important factor regarding the keyword "cooperation" is participation of the business sector, of the companies located in the country. Investors will also have to pay closer attention to whether business models are based on environmental pollution, waste of resources or social exploitation.
To what extent do you think that, beyond government guidelines, the commitment of each single person is required when it comes to climate protection?
Clearly, both dimensions are necessary. The state must define the framework conditions and set the right incentives. In turn, individuals must also question and adapt their investment and consumption behaviors. The challenges often seem almost overwhelming, but I am convinced that every step toward greater sustainability and climate protection, no matter how small, makes a difference. Personally, I have been thinking about the topic of sustainability since my student days. As Liechtenstein Ambassador to Germany, I also try to make my contribution wherever possible.