Despite being a developing country, Bangladesh spends more than 1% of its GDP in combating climate change
Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen has said the makeshift camps made for 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas on 6,800 acres of forest land in Cox’s Bazar is affecting the entire ecosystem in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh.
“Cox’s Bazar is in an extremely vulnerable location. Rohingya’s presence is affecting Bangladesh ecosystem,” Abdul Momen said.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 15th meeting of the governing council of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP) at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Momen said it is the responsibility of the global leadership, especially the South Asian partners, to do more to ensure the Rohingyas’ quick return to Myanmar.
“It is an issue solely between Myanmar and its own people, and the Rohingyas themselves have to resolve it,” he said.
Voluntary return of the Rohingyas to their homes in Rakhine state in safety, security and dignity is the only solution to the crisis, Momen observed.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by other rights groups.
The foreign minister said despite vulnerability to climate change impacts, Bangladesh has continued to prosper over the last 10 years.
“This, development miracle has a secret. Let me call it the ‘Bangladesh Secret, Sheikh Hasina Miracle’,” he added.
About climate change, the foreign minister said protected and restored ecosystems and biodiversity can help mitigate climate change and provide increased resilience in the face of mounting human pressures and natural disasters.
“Healthy ecosystems produce multiple benefits for communities that rely on them,” he added.
Despite being a developing country, he said, Bangladesh spends more than 1% of its GDP in combating climate change.
Momen said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will critically depend on the availability of resources and rock solid political commitment.
“To achieve SDGs by 2030, we need to work collectively in partnership by mobilizing resources, both finance and technology and utilizing available knowledge and information for mutual betterment,” he added.
Observing that there is a vast area of possible cooperation under the aegis of SACEP, Momen said: “Our active collaboration and cooperation will be very crucial for successful implementation of the SDGs as well as the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Environment, Forest and Climate change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar, Indian Environment, Forest and Climate change Minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar, Maldivian State Minister for Environment Ahmed Mujthaba and SACEP Director General Abas Basir, spoke, among others, at the inaugural session.