Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the rich nations and the big emitters of greenhouse gases to engage themselves in climate change mitigation and come forward to assist the vulnerable countries to adapt with the changing climate. “Since the rich and the developed countries are primarily responsible for climate change, so, justice demands that the climate problem should be addressed through common and differentiated responsibilities and capacities,” she said. The Prime Minister said this while formally inaugurating a weeklong International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change at a local hotel. As many as 300 experts from at least 60 countries including the developed nations are participating in the global conference. The Prime Minister said as the climate is being destabilized due to unbridled human activities since the advent of the industrial revolution we need to act now without delay, individually, nationally, regionally and globally to address the issue. She said climate change is the greatest challenge confronting mankind and the globe while the very existence of mankind and natural ecosystem is under increasing threat. “Unless the present trend of degradation of climate and environment is reversed, our next generations will have to face dire consequences, and for which, we as their ancestors will never be forgiven,” she added. Referring to Bangladesh’s vulnerability to climate change, Sheikh Hasina said the people of the country are struggling hard and facing the double burden of poverty and impacts of climate change. “This is not only difficult for them; this is also unfair and unjust. Why should some rich people’s lifestyles threaten lives and livelihoods of poor communities?, she questioned. Sheikh Hasina said we all must try our best to overcome the impacts of climate change and achieve sustainable development and the global community must support our communities in these regards.
Regarding adaptation, she said it is only a part of the solution while the real solution lies with reducing the root cause of climate change- the emission of greenhouse gases. She said the rich countries must demonstrate their leadership in this matter. More delay in mitigation will mean greater need for adaptation and greater sufferings for the communities and the poor of the world, she added. The Prime Minister said Bangladesh as a low lying deltaic country with ever 150 million people, is identified as one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effect of Climate Change. She said its coastal areas having a population of about 40 million face high risks from sea level rise, salinity intrusion, and extreme events like cyclones, tidal surges and land erosion. The sustainability of age old traditional livelihood system and the economy is already jeopardized. Sheikh Hasina said all efforts for poverty alleviation and development fall short of achieving the desired targets as consequence of this.
On government’s steps to tackle climate change challenges, she said it has taken steps to deal with the climate related problems through adoption of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP), implementation of which is being funded with our own resources through the National Climate Change Trust Fund of approximately US $ 200 million.
She said as the scale of the problem is so vast that Bangladesh alone can not address the crisis with its own resources. As part of global commitment, our international development partners have agreed to contribute to Climate Resilience Fund of over US $ 100 million so far. “We are grateful for this support, but the scale of resources needed is in billions of dollars,” Sheikh Hasina added. The Prime Minister said Bangladesh as a leading member of LDCs group, has been playing an important role in the climate change negotiations under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this context, she referred to her participation along with other world leaders in COP 15 held in Copenhagen in 2009 and her concern she convened to the world community by urging them to take steps urgently for combating climate change.
The Prime Minister said the climate negotiations must reduce emission rapidly, finance adaptation adequately and establish climate justice. State Minister for Environment and Forest Dr Hasan Mahmud, secretary to the ministry Mejbaul Alam, executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) Dr Atique Rahman and senior climate fellow of International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Dr Selimul Haque also addressed the inaugural function.
Environment experts, academics, research fellows, scientists and NGO representatives from al home and abroad were present.