COVID-19 shows silver lining in global climate change efforts: Hasina

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2020-05-21 13:11:53 BdST


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes the coronavirus pandemic has brought a positive shift in the global efforts to tackle climate change and growing competition for natural resources despite the economic ravages.

She made the remarks in her address to the 76th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) via video conference on Thursday.

The theme of the session was "promoting economic, social and environmental cooperation on oceans for sustainable development”.

Hasina was scheduled to attend the meeting in Bangkok and deliver the keynote speech but the session had to be held on a virtual platform for the first time due to global the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand and Permanent Representative to the ESCAP Nazmul Quaunine was elected as the chair of the 76th Commission of UNESCAP.

Addressing the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, Hasina said, "The world is facing unprecedented challenges of the century due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Along with the health issues this virus has severely affected our economy."

"However, the pandemic is also showing some silver linings on the change of global efforts to deal with climate change and growing competition for natural resources. We need to tackle this pandemic together.

In her message, Hasina stressed on regional cooperation for capacity building of developing countries for sustainable use of marine resources.

Hasina highlighted Bangladesh's commitment to promoting the growth of the blue economy as part of the long-term national development strategy.

Oceans and seas constitute a last resource frontier for the world and can help alleviate poverty and offer employment opportunities, the premier noted.

"Environmental pollutants are the major hurdles of the marine food-web and require an integrated response for the world economy towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource-efficient path of using resources of the oceans," she said.

"In view of this, my government has given utmost importance on promoting the growth of the blue economy as part of our long-term national development strategy."

The prime minister underscored the conservations programmes that Bangladesh has been implementing along with the use of sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, among others, to protect freshwater and marine resources.

She also laid out some "fundamental ocean issues" that must be addressed in order to strengthen the economic cooperation among member countries of the ESCAP.

"We need enhanced support for capacity building through sharing of knowledge, expertise and transfer of technology from advanced countries on Blue Economy," said Hasina.

The Bangladesh leader emphasised the need for joint research among member countries on fisheries development with a view to increasing regional fish production and establishing common platform network to deter, combat and eliminate "illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Hasina urged ESCAP to initiate mapping and management of resource identification while taking steps to protect critical coastal habitat and biodiversity.

Besides Hasina, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano also sent their video messages to the Commission.

In the session, the Asia Pacific nations agreed to cooperate in addressing the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemics and adopted a resolution.