Bangladesh has ranked number seven among Global Climate Risk Index 2020’s most at-risk countries despite having a negligible carbon footprint
CVF Thematic Ambassador for Vulnerability Saima Wazed Hossain on Monday called for making holistic approaches to make integrated action plans considering the experiences of most vulnerable communities to face the challenges of climate change.
“Climate change issue is a huge global challenge, but if we look at people and how well resilient people do, what works for them, we can actually help the most vulnerable people,” she said.
Saima, also chairperson of the Bangladesh National Advisory Committee on Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Autism, was addressing a virtual discussion titled "CVF-CoP 26 Dialogue: Meeting the Survival Deadline towards Maximal Resilience" arranged by Bangladesh High Commission in London.
She said: “As we go forward …I hope that one of the things we add to that looking at the resiliency that the population in most vulnerable countries really shows as much as they have ability to build back batter. We need to look at individual communities what work them.”
“When talk about climate change, we emphasize on reducing the temperature and green house gas and those are extremely important issues. Within the conversation for our country’s vulnerabilities issue of the population, we forget about the stories of individuals,” she added.
Saima said the loss of infrastructures, loss to livelihood and loss of all human support system and eco-system, everything impacts those who are even more vulnerable because of their cultural as well as religious beliefs, also those with disability, health conditions.
She said this is an opportunity going forward when it comes to realizing while going through this global pandemic, no issue can be separate unless “we address it holistically and look at all of the aspects.”
“Health certainly is an important part of this and I think in a lot of times we lose that part of the conversation. By health, I mean both physical and mental health. In addition, another thing we often forget is the issue of persons living with disability is not only physical, but they also have difficulty in communication,” she said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Md Shahriar Alam attended the virtual dialogue as the chief guest while Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)’s all members who are high commissioners and ambassadors of different countries in London participated in the dialogue and gave their recommendations for conference of parties (CoP-26) to be held in the next year.
Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK minister for Pacific, the Environment and CoP 26, joined the function as guest of honor while Prof Dr Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive officer of the Global Center on Adaptation and Prof Dr Saleemul Huq, chair, of CVF Expert Advisory Group and director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, addressed the function, among others.
Abul Kamal Azad, special envoy of Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency, gave a presentation on CVF while Bangladesh High Commissioner in London Saida Muna Tasneem moderated the virtual dialogue.
Saima said it is high time the CVF-COP26 climate conversation and the Glasgow outcome documents formally acknowledge and politically commit to address health and climate change issues and the impact of extreme climatic events on mental health of the most vulnerable and persons with disabilities.
“We need CoP 26-CVF partnership to rally behind the CVF’s call for a dedicated UN Special Rapporteur for climate change and human rights to uphold human rights of the most vulnerable of climate victims,” she said.
Current situation of Bangladesh
Shahriar Alam said ranked number seven among Global Climate Risk Index 2020’s most at risk countries despite having a negligible carbon footprint, Bangladesh remains one of the worst affected victims of global emissions.
“We lose 1% of our GDP every year due to climate change while by 2050, rising sea levels will submerge some 17% of Bangladesh’s coastal lands and displace about 20 million people. We also continue to host 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar at a steep cost of our ecology,” he said.
And yet Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in both adaptation and mitigation measures with 5 and 15% voluntary and assisted NDCs under the extraordinary climate-leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, winner of the UN “Champions of the Earth” Award, he added.
The state minister for foreign affairs said Bangladesh adopted the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 and established our first US$400 million Climate Change Trust Fund from our own resources.
“This year, we are celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and planting 10 million saplings nationwide to support the climate resilience action,” he said.
Shahriar Alam said in this important year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also announced the "Mujib Planetary Prosperity Decade" and action plan, which will chart a low-carbon pathway to deliver SDGs while making our economy more climate resilient, and decarbonize.
“Our parliament declared a 'Planetary Emergency' and called on the world to work “on a war-footing’’ to stop climate change,” he said.
He said Bangladesh has assumed the presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum this year for a second term under the visionary leadership of Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina, when all the CVF nations are facing the gravest global challenges of the times, the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.