Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made a fervent call to richer nations to take measures negate the climate change impacts to protect the earth.
“We (by now) have enormous amount of science, technology, innovation and finance at our disposal to address climate change,” she said while addressing a panel discussion titled “Climate Change as a security threat” on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Munich on Saturday night.
The Bangladesh premier added: “We (now) only need the ‘will’ of the richer segments of societies – everywhere – to act ambitiously against climate change”.
The Munich Security Conference drew over 25 heads of states and governments and brought together climate experts, NGOs and research institutions while the panel discussion was a major side event to facilitate an open dialogue that discusses the pressing global security issue.
Sheikh Hasina said climate change posed a real threat to human being with unabated rise of global temperature while it spread clutches to Bangladesh increasing the frequency and intensity of cyclones, storm surges and monsoon flooding, simultaneously challenging the people’s livelihood.
She said despite being a low emitting country, Bangladesh pledged in 2012 at UN General Assembly to pursue a low-carbon development pathway as its commitment to ‘collective good’.
The prime minister said none should have any doubt that environmental vulnerabilities only lead to fragile and jeopardize human security.
Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Hans Joachim chaired the discussion while Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya Monica Juma, Foreign Minister of Norway Ine Eriksen Soreide, US Senator Sheldon, Whitehouse and Co-Executive Director of Greenpeace International Bunny McDiarmid were present as panel discussants.
Chief Political Correspondent of Deutsche Welle, Berlin Melinda Crane-Rohrs moderated the function and introduced the topic and speakers of the panel discussion.
Sheikh Hasina said climate change has become a real threat for human being with unabated rise of global temperature. In Bangladesh, increasing cyclones, storm, surge, and monsoon flooding challenge livelihood of our people.
She said Bay of Bengal is increasingly getting acidic and one third of Bangladesh’s population is eventually at risk displacement with rising sea level although the country has a very little contribution to global warming.
The prime minister said flooding erodes river banks during every monsoon and numerous families overnight become homeless and helpless. The erratic pattern and intensity of rainfall and rising heat make farming difficult for the people.
Sheikh Hasina said changing climate is taking toll through emergence of new pathogens. Diseases like malaria, which we successfully eradicated risks a comeback. Similar risks are evident in diseases in serials, livestock and poultry.
Temperature variation is challenging breeding of our national fish- Hilsha. All these are serious enough challenges for the precious gains we made in development, she added.
The Prime Minister said despite the fact and also the IPCC findings- a lot of people- including those that are conscious of climate change are yet to understand the climate displacement issue.
Sheikh Hasina said an estimated 46 million people were displaced in South Asia alone by sudden onset disasters during 2008 to 2013, though the actual number of people moving internally and across borders in south Asia is not known.
It is anticipated that population movements in the context of disasters and climate change in south asia, south east asia and in the Indian ocean rim are likely to increase over the next decades, she said.
Replying to a question the Prime Minister said in Bangladesh military has been engaging with a lot of development activities in the country. Military is leading the disaster response in Bangladesh. They can also be engaged in early warning mechanisms.
Sheikh Hasina said most of the UN members are engaged in the discourse of climate change in the multilateral fora. “We need to keep the discussions and engagements up,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable frontline countries. In Bangladesh, the present government has mainstreamed climate actions and disaster risks reduction in national plan.
“We have investment of over 1 percent of our GDP to adress climate change impacts. Moreover, USD 450 million has been allocated from our own sources for adoption and mitigation purposes,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her commitment to low carbon, climate resilient development is firm. We planned to move to ‘carbon budgeting’, resilient industrialisation, she said adding that “we wish to decarbonise our manufacturing pathways.”
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has installed around six million solar home systems, provided two million Improved Cook Stoves among the poorest.
In spite of limitation, she said, Bangladesh has allocated USD 385 million to the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) for adaptation and mitigation.