Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Bangladesh is open to all regional, global climate initiatives: Foreign minister

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-02-24 23:06:50 BdST


Bangladesh is open to any initiative at the regional and global level to address climate change-related challenges, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said.

“Bangladesh is already considered a role model in the management of natural disasters. Prime minister proposes to redouble her efforts. But singular effort of Bangladesh is not enough,” he said.

“Government is open to any initiative at the regional and global level on this including the BIMSTEC, SAARC, Delta Coalition, Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). At the global level, Bangladesh is a champion in promoting climate issues.”

The foreign minister was speaking at the 2019 Thematic Meeting of PDD, Platform for Disaster Displacement, which is attended by a high-level delegations and experts on Sunday in Dhaka.

Displacement due to either slow or sudden onset disasters is a global problem, more aggravated due to erratic climate change and environmental degradation.

Momen shared Bangladesh stories.

“I met a rickshaw puller in Sylhet and I asked him why he travelled all the way for Southern coastal belt of Barisal.

“He replied, due to erosion of his cultivable land that has been washed away due to river erosion, leaving him no option but to move to a higher plain with his family for safety and security and now he is trying to earn a living just to survive,” he said, adding that he is not alone.

“In the capital city of Dhaka, out of its estimated 19 million residents, nearly 1/3rd are just like that floating population, forced out partly as their homes or living firms have been washed away their land is not enough to provide their living due to climate change.”

The World Bank predicts that 1 meter rise in the sea level will inundate 20 percent of its coastal region leaving 25 to 30 million people without home, without jobs.

Momen asked where these climate change migrants should go.

He said since Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate vulnerability, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took corrective actions to live with climate change.

She adopted “Climate Change Strategies & Action Plan” as early as 2009.

She also involved communities and created 60,000 well trained volunteers and erected nearly 3,800 cyclone Shelters plus afforestation.

“In addition, Bangladesh erected embankments to nearly 70 percent to 80 percent of coastal areas and arrange irrigation facility in 80 percent of its cultivable areas. It also developed flood resistant salinity resilient Crops to adopt and live with climate change,” he said.

In addition, to face challenges in climate change, Bangladesh adopted 100-year Delta Plan. However, this programme may cost an additional 2.5 percent of GDP each year and by 2031, in terms of dollars, it would cost $29.6 billion.

The foreign minister said the prime minister’s initiatives especially various mitigation strategies resulted in minimal less than 0.03 percent greenhouse emission in Bangladesh and in spite of the fact that, our country is not rich, yet she devoted substantial amount of its own hard-earned money to climate Funds.

She established 2 climate Funds and initiated dredging of rivers and green afforestation.

“Unfortunately, recent influx of nearly 1.2 million Rohingyas of Myanmar are eating up our afforestation and creating environmental disaster.”