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Experts in Daily Sun roundtable stress effective plans, capacity building to address climate change

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 1st June, 2022 12:04:03 PM
  • Print news

Speakers at a roundtable organised by the Daily Sun have spoken of the need for effective plans, research, internal fund and capacity building to address climate change.

They made the recommendations at the roundtable titled ‘Adapting to Climate Change: Bangladesh’s Progress’ at EWMGL conference room in Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital on Wednesday.

The programme organised by the Daily Sun in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ahead of the International Environment Day slated for June 5.

They also expressed dissatisfaction with non-payment of $100 million properly by the developed countries in annual climate mitigation fund to Bangladesh.

Editor of the Daily Sun Enamul Hoque Chowdhury chaired the programme which was moderated by Executive Editor Rezaul Karim Lotus.

Experts from various government and private organisations took part in the event and recommended for pragmatic and comprehensive approach to address the issue.

Speaking as the chief guest, former environment minister barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud said Bangladesh has no hand in preventing ecological imbalance as the developed countries contribute lion share to emission of greenhouse gas,

Accepting the unpleasing reality, Bangladesh should go ahead with its own initiatives to mitigate detrimental effect of the ecological imbalance.

Although the developed countries contribute lion share to emission of greenhouse gas, those are indifferent towards the issue.

“The developed countries the USA are unlikely to reduce emission of greenhouse gas sacrificing economic and industrial prospects,” he opined.

He suggested for constructing high embankments, extracting water from deep level and making water reservoir to save the people from salinity.

Water from the Himalayan due to melting of ice and sea level rise have teamed up to aggravate the situation and wreck havoc on the life and property of the people of Bangladesh, he said.

“We have to live with ice melting and sea level rise. The issue is not in our hand. So, we have to make best effective plans and implement those with internal resources for the betterment,” he said.

Dr Md Rezaul Haque, managing director of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, presented keynote paper at the programme.

Referring to a latest report, he said Bangladesh is the 7th worst victim to the climate change.

Salinity, coastal erosion and untimely rain and flood are characteristics of the climate change battering Bangladesh. The government has taken adequate long-term and short-term steps to mitigate impact of the environment degradation, he said.

Bangladesh Climate Change Action Plan is being modified and drafted to cater to the present context.

Emphasis has to be laid on sustainable agricultural industrial plans in the wake of climate change, he said.

A number of 475 projects under 19 ministries have already been implemented to address climate change, he informed.

Dr Md Rezaul Haque said the government has concentrated on research to effectively address the climate change.

“We have facilitated construction of greenhouse gas in various universities to boost the research. Efforts to invent environment resilient crops by agricultural universities in Mymensingh and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar are being supported by us. We have step up research on environment as per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s advice,” he said.

He said the students of MPhil and PhD are being integrated into the national network to utilise their expertise.

Special attention is being given to the risk-prone southern region and bottled water being discouraged, he said.

Prof Mahbuba Nasreen, pro-vice-chancellor of Bangladesh Open University, advocated for enhancing adaptation and mitigation programmes.

The officials of the government and private organisations concerned and journalists have to be imparted training on the environment in order to boost their capacity to work in the field, she said.

Besides, a comprehensive plan is needed to safeguard the people with disability from ecological imbalance, she added.

Prof Dr Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, chairman of Department of Environmental Science at Stamford University Bangladesh, held pollution solely responsible for the environment degradation.

The pollution level in Dhaka in winter is eight times higher and the situation in rainy season is not satisfactory, he said.

He mentioned that the temperature is high due to ecological imbalance.

“To ensure a knowledge-based society, a department on climate change need to be introduced in all universities. Out of 150 universities in the country, only a few offer such course right now,” he said.

Sahadat Hossain Shakil, environmental specialist at Economic Growth Office of USAID Bangladesh, said thousands of cyclone centres have been prepared and advance information shared with 30,000 farmers ahead of last cyclone to protect crops.

“Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia to make modern forest inventory. We have turned forest destroyers into forest preservers in several areas,” he said.

Focus is being given on application of green energy in industries, especially textile and RMG, he added.

The primary, secondary and kindred impacts of the climate have to be addressed, said Shakil.

Although USAID is engaged in efficient water management and sanitation in Bangladesh, it will directly work with the government to fight climate change.

Md Shamsuddoha, chief executive of the Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD), laid emphasis on addressing secondary impacts of the climate change.

“Bangladesh is currently focusing on the primary impacts and working to mitigate those. But the country is showing indifference towards the secondary impacts. For example, people are losing work ability due to environment degradation but such problem is being ignored,” he said.

He said more research is needed to detect primary and secondary impacts and build capacity to address the climate change properly.

The programme started with welcome address delivered by Daily Sun Executive Editor Rezaul Karim Lotus.

He termed the roundtable important for discussing the problems and preparedness of Bangladesh in the field of environment ahead of the World Environment Day.

The roundtable is conducive for getting safe guidelines recommended by the environ experts, he said.

Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA), alleged that the country’s fight against climate change is facing a setback due to lack of coordination among various ministries and stakeholders.

He blamed reluctance of the developed countries to curb carbon emission has put Bangladesh in danger zone.

The international approach towards mitigating climate change is in bad shape due to power struggle, he opined.

However, he said politicians, environmentalists, journalists and common people will have to work together to mitigate the climate change.  

Delwar Hossain, forestry and environment affairs secretary of Bangladesh Awami League, said Bangladesh’s fight against climate change dated back to 1954 as Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman included environment issue in the United Front’s polls manifesto.

He underscored need for holistic approach of the politicians, experts, journalists and common people to address the climate change.  

Criticising the Delta Plan for not including university teachers and research fellows in it, he called upon the authorities concerned to consider the issue.

The waste dumping spots have to be specified alongside punitive action against the violators of the system, he said.