Bangladesh is a unique example of climate vulnerability, resilience: PM Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has hailed the resilience showed by Bangladeshis against natural and man-made disasters as she called for greater cooperation among nations in the fight against climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Published : 8 Sept 2020, 12:21 PM
Updated : 8 Sept 2020, 12:21 PM

The prime minister made the call during the virtual inauguration of Global Centre on Adaptation's regional office in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The Bangladesh leader pointed out the vulnerability of the South Asian region to climate-induced natural disasters like cyclone, flood, tidal surge, drought, glacial lake outburst flood, landslides and avalanches.

"Even a 1.5 degree Celsius rise of temperature will have severe consequences for Bangladesh and the region," she warned.

Hasina also stressed the vulnerability of the children, women, elderly people and people with special needs against disasters while underscoring Bangladesh's commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement and adopting all other measures to limit carbon emissions and other environmental degradations.

"My government has undertaken various mitigation and adaptation programmes under the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan formulated in 2009 to offset climate change impacts. We have established the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund in 2009 and so far allocated 430 million US dollar from our own resources to implement the action plan," she said.

The government has also been spending about 1% of our GDP equivalent to $2 billion per year since 2010 for adaptation purposes.

The prime minister also highlighted the Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100 as a long-term initiative to tackle the challenges of climate change and natural disasters.

However, Hasina emphasised the need to build greater resilience in South Asia to mitigate the effects of climate-related disasters.

"In the past decade alone, nearly 700 million people, half of the region’s population, have been affected by climate-related disasters.

Before people can recover from one disaster caused by natural hazards, another one strikes, reversing any progress made. To end this cycle, South Asia needs to build greater resilience."

On the GCA's regional office in Bangladesh, Hasina said, "It is heartening to note that the GCA Bangladesh office will facilitate, support and develop on-the-ground action in South Asia to enhance adaptation and climate resilience."

"I hope, this regional office will share the best adaptation practices of Bangladesh as well as other countries and exchange practices within the region. It will serve as a Center of Excellence and a solution-broker for adaptation measures in the region."

Bangladesh also expects the GCA Dhaka office's support during the country's chairmanship of Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable-20, two climate-based important international bodies under the UNFCCC process, over the next two years, according to Hasina.

She also urged the GCA to explore ways of supporting the Delta Coalition on a long-term basis.

While lauding Bangladesh's prowess in fighting natural disasters, the prime minister acknowledged 'a lot of things' need to change to lessen the impact of climate change.

"I think, other countries in the region also have similar experiences and some good practices on adaptive measures. I believe, together we can safeguard and build a better future for all of us," she said.

"As the climate change is a global affair, I would like to call upon the countries to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions by December the 31st this year in tackling the menace as well as execute the 2015 Paris Agreement."

In light of the fallout from the pandemic, Hasina called on other nations to forge unity to fight the current crisis and others in the future.