Ban Ki Moon, co-chair of Global Commission of Adaptation and former secretary-general of the UN, appears in video message to welcome the conference and launch locally-Led Action on adaptation
The 6th Gobeshona International Conference on Research into Action in Bangladesh got under way at Dhaka’s Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) on Monday.
Gobeshona is a knowledge sharing platform for climate change research in the country.
In its sixth consecutive year, the annual four-day-long event is aimed at creating a platform for knowledge sharing, with a focus on best practices and research on climate change.
The host of the conference, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), has set this year’s theme as “Research into Action.”
Dr Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD’s director, said Gobeshona was launched in 2014 with the aim of drawing scattered activities on climate change together and make evidence-based decisions at the national level.
Listing an array of activities that Gobeshona carries out throughout the year, including amassing scientific research papers in one place, Dr Huq briefed the audience on the ways in which the platform worked and its goals.
“The first three days, we have a science conference with many different themes. On the final day, we have a science policy dialogue where we invite policy makers and present what we feel are important research findings that need to be taken into account in decision making. More importantly, we get from them ideas on what kind of research we can do to feed decision making,” said Dr Huq.
ICCCAD’s director also announced that awards would be given to young researchers for outstanding research. He outlined plans of expanding Gobeshona beyond Dhaka.
Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said her organization had been a fellow traveler with ICCCAD and had tried to bring the perspective of the climate-affected communities to the table.
Kabir stressed the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into all policy dialogues.
"All the innovative and technology based ideas that are being discussed in such platforms should be looked upon from the perspective of gender equity. Accumulation of gender segregated data is still a challenge. The gap will continue to widen unless national statistics address the gender segregated data,” she said.
Gobeshona 6 brings together a distinguished and multidisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners from around the world to share their knowledge, research, research and practical experience on climate change issues in Bangladesh.
Addressing the event, Robert Chatterton Dickson, the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said Gobeshona 6 had brought to the fore a very timely and extremely important discussion.
"COP 25 in Madrid last month demonstrated very clearly once again the extraordinary gap between what science is telling us about the need for immediate action and the lack of political urgency in the action proposed by many countries," said Dickson.
The Gobeshona conference, he hoped, would underscore the urgency for action and begin to lead to some of the policy actions that required to be undertaken in order to cut emissions, protect the environment and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The chief guest at the inaugural event, S M Monzurul Hannan Khan, additional secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said Gobeshona had been able to make a real difference in climate change research in Bangladesh.
Khan lauded Gobeshona for inviting young researchers and said its decision to recognize the best new scientists was very encouraging.
Climate change has been incorporated in all important planning levels, Khan said, including The Delta Plan 2100.
"In 2009, we produced, with the help of DFID Bangladesh, a plan on climate change. This document provided an opportunity to create a climate change national fund, climate change trust fund," Khan said.
Bangladesh is currently working on a national adaptation plan, informed the bureaucrat. "Bangladesh has done a good job in identifying the hot spots [which will be affected most by climate change impact]. This indexing will tell us what to do in those areas," he said.
Monzurul Hannan Khan said: "The honourable Prime Minister decided to open a centre of global commission on adaptation. The Ministry of Environment opened a new centre for climate change research. It will run in the next six months. We are also very happy that ICCCAD is going to help us build migrant friendly cities in Bangladesh." he said.
A video message from Ban Ki-Moon was aired during the opening event in which he announced the launch of the ‘Locally-Led Action’ track on adaptation, as part of the ‘Year of Action’ by Global Commission of Adaptation, where Ban Ki-Moon works as Co-Chair.