Hasina seeks global solution to climate change
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says the environmental balance of Cox's Bazar is under threat from clearing hills and forests for Rohingya settlements.
"For this [Rohingya presence], the natural equilibrium is being destabilised in that area... settlements are being established in the area clearing forests and hills. As a result, those areas are becoming insecure and risky, too," she said.
The prime minister said this inaugurating the 'Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation' at the Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka yesterday, reports UNB.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has given shelter to Myanmar nationals on humanitarian grounds, she said the country has stepped up to the need, shouldering a big burden.
She said Bangladesh wants the Rohingyas to return to their homeland as soon as possible. "The quicker they return to their homeland the better for Bangladesh, and I do believe that," she added.
She said adaptation measures cannot be taken without proper mitigation measures in place.
Hasina said that in this age of science, technology and innovation, there is ample scope to address climate change. "I call on everyone for awareness and responsibility to fight the adverse impacts of climate change," she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh is expecting to take advantage of best adaptation practices, most cost-effective solutions and risk reduction, with the help of the Global Commission on Adaptation.
"We're eagerly waiting to see the recommendations of the flagship report next September at the Climate Change Summit, called by the secretary general of the United Nations. On behalf of Bangladesh and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), I have been invited to speak at the summit," she said.
In 2015 in Paris, the prime minister recalled, all were successful in creating a solid ground for meaningful cooperation in combating the impact of climate change. "Like many others we firmly believe that climate change is a global challenge and we have to resort to global solutions."
"The Paris Agreement is the most pragmatic and effective global deal towards this global solution. In the final report of the High Level Political Forum on Water (HLPW) formed at the initiative of Ban Ki Moon, we said "every drop counts." The world community is trying to implement this," she added.
'Climate change the greatest threat'
Hasina said climate change poses the greatest threat to present and future generations. Evidence suggests that Bangladesh already has 6 million climate migrants, a number that could be more than double by 2050.
"Changes in temperature,the increased frequency and severity of floods, drought, heat waves, cyclones and storm surges, sea-level rise and salinity intrusion, are affecting vast tracts of land in Bangladesh."
These changes are seriously affecting agriculture, crops, livestock and fisheries, and are threatening the food security of Bangladesh, she added.
Hasina said Bangladesh is pursuing a low carbon development path with increasing emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation.
She said Bangladesh has been working relentlessly to overcome its vulnerabilities and develop adaptation measures for people. "We've designed the 'Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100' project to combat climate change."
The prime minister said Bangladesh, being one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, is also at the forefront of learning how to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change.
"With the present government's various timely and effective measures, the impact of natural calamities has come down significantly."
She said the government has taken initiatives to increase tree coverage from 22% to 24% in the next five years.
She said Bangladesh has also been engaged in creating resilient forests in offshore areas to protect forest-dependent communities, and the habitats of important forest biodiversity. "Our scientists and farmers have invented stress-tolerant rice cultivation technologies with good results."
The prime minister went on to say:, "The floating garden, a low input, low cost, resilient family farming system in the wetlands of the south-central coastal districts, is another good example."
She also said the Household Silo (HHS) is another adaptation practice in Bangladesh to ensure food security in disaster prone areas that helps the most vulnerable to some extent. "But more research and investment on this front are necessary as climate change is moving fast, impacting our agriculture, life and livelihoods."
Marshall Island President Dr Hilda Heine, World Bank CEO and Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) co-chair Dr Kristaline Georgieva, the current chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) and former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, and Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, also spoke at the programme.
Various sessions like 'community dialogue,' 'action tacks - mobilising accelerated adaptation and support,' and 'mobilising a global audience - communication tools and events,' will follow the inaugural session.
The GCA, led by Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Bank CEO Georgieva, is guided by 32 commissioners and 19 convening countries, representing all regions of the globe, and is co-managed by the Global Center on Adaptation and the World Resources Institute.