France and Germany on Monday vowed to stay beside Bangladesh in its fight against climate disruptions saying all must address the root causes of climate disruptions and must act together for 'lasting protection' to the affected people of the planet.
German Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Laurent Fabius came up with the view in two programmes, including press interaction before wrapping up their short but 'historic' visit, UNB reports.
"It's also clear to me if we want to offer lasting protection to the people of Patuakhali or elsewhere in this planet, we must address the root causes of climate change and we must act together to stop global warming now," Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a function marking the topping-off ceremony of the first-ever joint Embassy in the city.
France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and diplomats of the three countries were present.
The German Foreign Minister said the Paris Climate Conference is really a key opportunity that all must not miss it.
He appreciated Bangladesh's commitment to addressing the climate disruptions though Bangladesh is not responsible for that. "The building we are inaugurating today symbolises our unique friendship in unique partnership we’ll build on to address joint challenges ahead of us."
Laurent Fabius, while addressing a press conference, described the ways and means of adaptation and mitigation issues mentioning, “You are not responsible but you’re having the consequences. You’re already doing great things."
On legally-binding agreement, he said they need such a deal but some countries have reservation about it due to ratification process in their respective parliaments. "We’re working to find a formula which can be accepted by all."
The German Foreign Minister was scheduled to attend the briefing but he skipped it.
Responding to a question, the France Foreign Minister said what is encountering but still not completely satisfying is that the famous promise of US$ 100 billion every year in 2020.
"Now we have a feeling that it can be achieved which is the key to confidence," he said adding that surprisingly there has been no study so far to know where they are in terms of financing.
Turning to the joint Embassy, the France Foreign Minister said it shows the great symbol of friendship and they are working very hard through projects, finance, technology and common ideas how to fight climate disruptions.
Earlier, they witnessed the effects of climate change on this country.
In the run-up to the crucial climate conference COP21 in Paris, the two Foreign Ministers wanted to set a strong symbol by jointly visiting Bangladesh, a country that is heavily threatened by the adverse effects of climate change, according to a joint press statement.
Their trip gave them a first-hand impression of the impact of global warming and the possible adaptation strategies in the areas of disaster risk reduction and long-term agricultural adaptation.
During their daylong visit to Bangladesh, Ministers Fabius and Steinmeier were scheduled to inaugurate one of the anti-cyclone shelters, which were built with the support of German development cooperation, KfW, in Patuakhali district.
They also wanted to meet local people and farmers, who received training through BARI and the German implementation agency GIZ, in adapting with the consequences of climate change in order to get first-hand information.
However, that programme had to be cancelled for bad weather conditions.
Instead, they took a boat trip on the Bangshi River North-West of Dhaka.
The trip was organised by the French – Bangladeshi NGO ‘Friendship’, working for 14 years to help address the needs of marginalised communities, highly suffering from climate changes' impact.
Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director, gave an overview of climate changes' impact on Bangladesh as the delegation members witnessed the impact of ups and downs of the river level on the environment.
During their travel, they also saw the vast inundated areas, where bricks are usually made. These areas are now under flood and only the chimneys can be seen.
After their visit to Bangladesh, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Laurent Fabius were impressed by the already visible challenges that arise from global warming in this country.
Their joint trip underlines the commitment of the two European nations to broker a pragmatic, yet comprehensive, legally-binding agreement in Paris.
Tackling climate change is a challenging task for the whole international community.
And the burden to avoid further environmental hazards caused by climate change has to be shared.
After this boat trip, Fabius and Dr Steinmeier returned to Dhaka to meet with Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In the afternoon, Fabius and Dr Steinmeier visited the future Franco-German Embassy in Baridhara, Dhaka.
It is the first Embassy worldwide jointly built and operated by France and Germany and a strong symbol of the friendship between the two countries.
From its opening in the summer of 2016, the Franco-German Embassy Dhaka will serve as a joint workplace of German and French diplomats and their locally employed Bangladeshi colleagues.