Tackling Climate Change Impacts

Bangladesh, US to work together

Diplomatic Correspondent

10 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has sought US support for increasing global climate ambition and commitment to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The foreign minister asked for the support during his meeting with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on Friday. 

During the meeting, the foreign minister recalled United States’ crucial role in the successful adoption of the Paris Accord and appreciated Biden government’s decision to return to the global climate negotiations which would create momentum to advance global climate progress.

He also referred to the crucial contribution of Kerry for concluding the Paris Accord in 2015, and mentioned that Bangladesh had closely worked with the US delegation at that time. He expressed hope that under the leadership of the US, the developed countries will come forward with ambitious actions to limit the global warming at 1.5 degree Celsius.

John Kerry and Abdul Momen had a substantive exchange of views on possible areas of Bangladesh-US climate collaboration in mitigation, adaptation and renewable energy through technology transfer, capacity building and climate finance, said a Foreign Ministry press release. 

Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s low carbon development path with increasing emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency and underlined Bangladesh government’s key initiatives including Climate Change Trust Fund, National Solar Energy Roadmap, National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan’ to achieve low carbon economic growth.

He further added that Bangladesh was reviewing the potential to enhance its mitigation ambition to submit a quantified ambitious NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) by June 2021. Bangladesh submitted an interim NDC on 31 December 2020.

John Kerry highly appreciated Bangladesh’s excellent adaptation and mitigation efforts. He said that Bangladesh had shown amazing resilience to climate change despite many adversities.  He also praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her leadership in the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).  

While discussing the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow in November this year, Foreign Minister Momen reiterated the significance of the promised international financial flow at and beyond US$100 billion annually to support sustainable development and energy transformations of the developing economies, and he stressed that the funding should be distributed at 50:50 ratio between mitigation and adaptation.

He also mentioned at the same time that adaptation without mitigation is not a good strategy. On the issue of the national determined contribution (NDC), Momen emphasised on behalf of Bangladesh as well as on behalf of the CVF that all countries need to work hard to fulfill their NDCs at the soonest.

He also requested for high level presence from the US government at the CVF-COP26 event, planned to be held on the sidelines of the COP26 to secure a recovery package for the climate vulnerable countries.

Momen said that Bangladesh has emerged as a global leader in climate change adaptation which was possible for systematic investment in the adaption measures.           

He further raised the issue of “loss and damage” due to climatic events, including displacement of people from river erosion, sea level rise and increasing of salinity in the coastal areas.

While discussing bilateral cooperation in the area of climate change, the foreign minister requested for US support in renewable energy, including investment from the US companies in the renewable energy sector of Bangladesh.

Abdul Momen also requested for US assistance in afforestation. He sought support for reconstruction and widening of embankments around the rivers to stop erosion, and also afforestation along the embankments, and in the Southern region of Bangladesh.

The issue of rehabilitation of the population displaced because of river erosion and also from the coastal areas because of the sea-level rise was discussed, and the foreign minister sought US support in this regard.

Momen also informed Kerry that on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the government has planted 11.5 million trees, and in total around 30 million trees are being planted all over Bangladesh this year.

He also informed about the establishment of the regional office of the Global Centre for Adaptation (GCA) in Dhaka in October 2020 for sharing local adaptation strategies in the region, and asked for US support for the centre.    

Immediately after the bilateral meeting with Abdul Momen, John Kerry also held a working lunch at the State Guest House Padma with the foreign minister, Environment Minister Shahab Uddin, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lt Col Muhammad Faruk Khan (Retd.), and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment Saber Hossain Chowdhury and discussed two countries’ possible cooperation and joint efforts to advance climate actions.

After these two meetings, a joint press briefing was held where John Kerry and Abdul Momen talked to the Press.

After the meetings and the press briefing at the State Guest House Padma, Kerry called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganabhaban. The call on lasted for more than one hour.

US Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry has visited Bangladesh on Thursday regarding invitation by US President Joseph Biden to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the US-hosted Leaders Summit on Climate to be held virtually on 22-23 April 2021 and to have discussions on increasing climate ambition ahead of the Leaders Summit and the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the UNFCCC.