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PM to global community: Take responsibility for climate migrants

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joins other global leaders at a photo session during the Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Madrid on Monday, December 2, 2019
Focus Bangla

All funds to fight climate change must be replenished, Sheikh Hasina says

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the global community to take the responsibility for climate migrants as they are getting displaced for no fault of their own.

“As our people will be displaced for no fault of ours…we expect the international community to shoulder the responsibility of accommodating them and providing them with livelihood,” she said.

The Prime Minister was addressing a general roundtable discussion at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) on Monday in Madrid, reports UNB.

The roundtable titled “National Plan to Increase Ambition by 2020” was held at Feria de Madrid.

Sheikh Hasina said: “All ‘Funds’ to fight climate change must be replenished as per our agreement, including the $100 billion annual contribution.”

She said the Convention and the Paris Agreement recognize the special circumstances and needs of LDCs and “Particularly Vulnerable Countries” based on the principle of the “common but differentiated responsibility”, and this recognition must be adhered to in every delivery mechanism of the climate finance.

The prime minister warned that there is a limit to resilience and adaptation. “We simply have to stop the increase of global temperature at 1.5 degree centigrade more than the pre-industrial level.”

Despite lack of interest among many to adopt adequate measures, she said, Bangladesh is a firm believer of collective efforts and understanding to fight climate change and UN is the most appropriate platform.

“We think to stop further degradation of environment, we have some useful international mechanisms like Paris Agreement and other relevant global instruments and mechanisms, and we must strictly implement our agreed provisions,” Sheikh Hasina said.

From now on, she said, the principle of “Loss and Damage” must feature prominently in all negotiations and the ‘Warsaw International Mechanism’ must be given a much stronger mandate to explore financing losses and damages through its review.

“The global landscape of climate finance is highly fragmented — complex and grossly inadequate,” the prime minister added.

She said the concept of equity or fairness is a fundamental issue that underlies the framing and operationalization of the Paris Agreement under the Convention through which greater levels of international cooperation under the Convention and its Paris Agreement may be achieved.

“We hope that finalization of robust rules under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement must continue environmental integrity, avoid double counting and other accounting loopholes, deliver a share of proceeds from the market mechanism for the Adaptation Fund to assist overall mitigation in global emission,” she said.

“Any consequence of failure to deliver a climate action plan must fall equally on every country, especially the countries which are more responsible for contributing to climate change, and the cost of our inaction is devastating for every living person,” she added.

The prime minister said it is the responsibility of the leaders and politicians to make the public aware of the critical situation and the actions required to stop it from developing. “We cannot decide to be undecided.”

Existential threat

The prime minister said climate change now has become an existential threat for climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh. “We are fighting the battle on two fronts. First, mitigation measures to reduce and eventually reach to zero emission in future. Second, adaptation measures in areas where irreparable damage has been done.” 

She said lives and livelihoods of millions of people would continue to be at risk unless all concerned deliver on both these two fronts.

Sheikh Hasina further said the time is ticking fast to the point of no return. “It urgently needs to limit temperature increase to 1.5oC and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, by cutting 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.”

She said Bangladesh, the largest delta in the world, is the worst-affected country by adverse impacts of climate change. “Up to 2050 from now, our annual GDP loss will be 2# and at this rate by 2100, the loss will be a staggering 9%.” 

According to the World Bank, more than three-quarters or 134 million of around 165 million population of Bangladesh are at the risk of declining living standard as a result of rising temperature and erratic rainfall due to climate change, the prime minister said.

By 2080, some 40 million people will be homeless due to sea-level rise, she said adding that Unicef, in April last, published that in spite of excellent progress on resilience and adaptation, Bangladesh has 6 million climate migrants already and the number could be more than double by 2050 and 19 million children in Bangladesh are already under threat. 

“We will never achieve the SDGs and eradicate poverty if the adverse impacts of climate change are not stopped.” 

The prime minister said when people are vulnerable and left with no choice to survive, they will resort to any action endangering state, regional and global security. “Their weakness and vulnerability make them easy prey for threats like radicalization and we are already experiencing its devastating effects all over the world.” 

In spite of being a non-emitter and being severely constrained in terms of resources and choices, Bangladesh is doing its best to enhance our resilience, she said.

Bangladesh the first LDC to establish climate change fund

Noting that Bangladesh is the first LDC to establish a Climate Change Trust Fund, she said Bangladesh has so far spent more than $415 million from own resources for mitigation and adaptation purposes. “We’re set to spend as much as $10 billion to make the country less vulnerable to natural disasters.” 

The prime minister said the Bangladesh Parliament has recently adopted a motion declaring the current state of climate vulnerability as a planetary emergency calling all other Parliaments to act to adopt necessary measures to reduce global warming.

She said the presence of 1.1 million Rohingyas, who fled persecution in Myanmar, has caused an environmental and social havoc in an environmentally critical area, Cox’s Bazar, with the loss of forest, hills, biodiversity and local livelihood. “So, we already have the dreadful experience of how the situation after a climatic calamity may turn out.”

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