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Political parties urged to include climate change in election manifestos

  • Published at 08:34 pm November 28th, 2018
web- climate change impacts -Bangladesh Climate Action Forum- general election during a round-table
Speakers discuss climate change impacts and how it should be in focus in the upcoming general election during a round-table meeting at the Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Their call came at a time when all major and minor political parties are preparing to begin their official campaign ahead of the next parliamentary polls, slated for December 30

Speakers at a roundtable have urged the political parties that are gearing up for the 11th general election to include the crucial matter of climate change in their election manifestos and address it if they come to power.

They have urged the government and the civil society to focus not only on the quantity of financial allocations in this sector but also whether the expenditures were proper.

Their remarks were made during the roundtable titled “Climate Change in Election Manifestos: Context and Reality” and organized by Bangladesh Climate Action Forum at the Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Their call came at a time when all major and minor political parties are preparing to begin their official campaign ahead of the next parliamentary polls, slated for December 30.

Addressing the roundtable, Dr A Atiq Rahman, executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), said climate change was a global phenomenon and it is  impossible for one country to minimize its destructive impacts.

He said the government should bring together all political parties and work on this issue, so that Bangladesh can raise a higher voice and play a better role when it came to policymaking regarding climate change in the international arena in order to mitigate the global challenge.

“There is already a general consensus in mitigate the challenges of climate change. But now we want this mentioned in the election manifestos of the political parties so that action on these pledges are ensured,” he added.

Taking cue, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said that political parties here always make commitments on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, but their manifestos have from very little to nothing regarding climate change, its adverse impacts and measures to tackle them.

“Sustainable development will not be possible if the authorities are not concerned about climate change,” she said.

Dr Nadiruzzaman, fellow of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), also gave a presentation that mentioned a number of suggestions from the civil society for the authorities to consider regarding climate change.

They also placed a seven-point charter of demands, which include – a 5% increase in allocation to tackle climate change in the next fiscal year 2019-20; more focus on the quality of work on climate change rather than on the quantity of allocation; prioritize poor and marginal communities; and a joint task force of the government and civil society.

In the national budget for 2018-19FY, the government had set aside Tk18,948.76 crore to address the rising vulnerabilities from climate change. That amount was allocated among 20 ministries and divisions.

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