CLIMATE CHANGE 'Let's move from talks to action'

The junior minister for environment calls upon the developed nations to take necessary steps sooner than later

bdnews24.com
Published : 4 Oct 2011, 12:36 PM
Updated : 4 Oct 2011, 12:36 PM
Dhaka, Oct 4 (bdnews24.com) – Bangladesh is most vulnerable to climate change, junior minister for environment and forests has said calling upon the developed nations to swing into action from dialogues on mitigation.
"We've repeated wake-up calls from nature through floods, droughts etc. But still we're busy talking," Hasan Mahmud told a dialogue in the capital on Tuesday.
He expects that the Nov Durban climate talks will help make substantial progress in this regard.
He also sought 'transparency' in global climate change fund disbursement.
International NGO Oxfam and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) organised the dialogue titled 'Expectations from Durban: UK and Bangladesh Perspectives' in cooperation with the European Union (EU) at CIRDAP auditorium.
Portraying Bangladesh's extra strain from climate change, the junior minister said a meter rise of the sea due to global warming would inundate a fifth of Bangladesh's landmass displacing over 30 million people.
He said: "Climate change is on us and we cannot afford wasting time."
"Developed nations should take quick mitigation actions to face climate change impacts. And there should be transparency in releasing climate change fund."
Mahmud said Bangladesh has been successful in establishing climate change fund. "We've established two funds - Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund on our own."
Extolling the role of the UK, Mahmud said the European country was the biggest donor of Bangladesh last year. "The UK and Bangladesh should work together in climate change-related areas."
Visiting UK MP of Bangladeshi origin Rushanara Ali, speaking at the dialogue, expressed her eagerness to work together with Bangladesh and suggested public pressure on government to raise climate fund.
She said her opposition Labour Party would be pushing the British government to play a proactive role in pressurising the international community for releasing the climate change fund as per their commitments.
Rushanara, who immigrated to East End of London with her family when she was 7 years of age in 1982, said she had a powerful memory about and strong connection with Bangladesh.
"In 1997, when the Labour Party was in power, we campaigned for increasing aid for Bangladesh.
"We committed more support for Bangladesh, but it's not being followed through [by the present government]," she said and pledged her party's full support to Bangladesh in climate change issues.
Chairman of all-party parliamentary group on agriculture and rural development Hasanul Haq Inu demanded pledges from the developed world in the upcoming Durban meet to rehabilitate climate refuges.
Putting forward an idea of three-tier planning for Bangladesh – global, regional and country-level – to face the climate change impacts, Inu also asked the advanced world to set up a climate change adaptation research institution in the country.
He said the global climate change fund should be given directly to the affected countries.
"We don't want it through the World Bank or the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. At least 70 percent of the total fund should be given to the LDCs."
Climate scientist Dr Ahsan Uddin Ahmed said the UK had committed 60 million pound for Bangladesh after a 2008 signing between the two countries.
"But delay in releasing the funds make its use less effective," he said urging the UK to play a strong role in supporting Bangladesh by providing financial support.
Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods' convener and former adviser to the caretaker government Dr C S Karim moderated the dialogue, also attended by Oxfam's country director in Bangladesh Gareth Price Jones.
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Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher