Climate change-related natural disasters threaten the lives of people and future generations of Bangladesh, Prime Minister says
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that although Bangladesh is affected by the adverse effects of climate change, it can serve as a role model for the world in the fight against climate change.
“Bangladesh is particularly affected by the negative effects of climate change and can serve as a model for the developed and developing world,” she wrote in an article published Monday in the famous Washington-based Diplomat magazine.
Here is the full article by Sheikh Hasina:
Climate change through the prism of Bangladesh
As Bangladesh is located at the end of the watershed of the mighty Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river systems, it is prone to climate-related disasters. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints an irreversible and irrefutable future, especially for South and Southeast Asia. An increasing monsoon will cause variability in local rainfall levels and frequent and intermittent flooding. As a result, the coastal area of ââBangladesh will be very sensitive to flooding and salinity, which will most likely hamper agricultural production and affect food security. Natural disasters linked to climate change threaten the lives of people and future generations of the country.
This impending disaster prompts us to improve infrastructure resilience, institutional capacity and financial preparedness, and to help vulnerable communities adapt and manage residual risks. There are several experiences and best practices that Bangladesh can share with developed and developing countries.
As chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) – a coalition of 48 countries from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and South America – Bangladesh has been a pioneer in preparing the comprehensive plan for the climatic prosperity of Mujib. Launched in July this year, it is the first plan from a GCF country with a strategic investment framework to mobilize finance through international cooperation to implement climate resilience initiatives. . Germany, as a resource-rich country, can play an important role in this regard.
The main initiatives of the program include renewable energy, energy storage infrastructure, modernization of the electricity grid and emissions trading. The instrument also extends its spotlight to sustainable industries in Bangladesh, locally driven adaptation outcomes and financial protection of micro, small and medium enterprises. In addition, the development of climate-resilient and nature-based agriculture and fisheries, environmentally friendly transport and climate-resilient wellness programs are at the heart of this visionary document.
With the global transition to the Sustainable Development Goals, my government has launched a comprehensive plan for Bangladesh to become a developed country by 2041. As a result, the country’s economic growth trajectory has maintained good momentum even in the midst of the current Covid-19 crisis and despite a growing population, limited land resources and frequent natural disasters.
At the same time, we have boosted the country’s agricultural production over the past 20 years. Our annual rice production almost tripled between 1971 and 2020. To date, more than 100 modern high-yielding rice varieties have been developed and distributed to farmers, including less water-intensive and more heat-tolerant varieties. Additionally, floating agriculture is practiced in many parts of Bangladesh to meet food demand, alleviate societal challenges, and ensure biodiversity and ecosystem conservation.
Bangladesh has also built sea dikes, cyclone shelters and coastal plantations as a green adaptation against cyclone disasters. Bank erosion forecasts are provided to ensure rapid evacuation and protect millions of lives and properties. The regulatory framework to empower and mobilize local governments and volunteers immediately during a disaster is an effective preparedness measure.
Finally, my government has placed the greatest importance on green belt development and afforestation, and it has planted over 11.5 million saplings. The coastal area of ââBangladesh is home to the Sundarbans, one of the largest mangrove forests in the world. It has a great capacity to store carbon – up to five times more efficiently than terrestrial forests.
As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, Bangladesh is part of a sustainable development approach by limiting global warming. However, achieving these transformations at the pace and scale required will not be possible without the alignment and collaboration of all nations. Thus, Bangladesh calls for collaborative and coordinated actions to develop a global consortium comprising developed and developing countries. Yet, commitments and efforts are most needed from developed countries, like Germany, as climate change is mainly caused and exacerbated by them. They should help climate-vulnerable countries through innovative technology transfer, capacity building and improved access to climate finance for adaptation and mitigation. Global communities can take the lead by setting hard targets for emissions reductions, developing a common vision and harnessing lessons from successful initiatives to scale up disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
At the same time, developing countries must also act responsibly so that change does not worsen. Bangladesh has been a positive example of such responsible behavior over the decades.