Bangladesh has to continue the fight along with other climate-vulnerable countries as climate justice is yet to be ensured, said experts and stakeholders on Thursday.
"Climate is an issue of life and death for us. Thus, it is a matter of justice. We have to spend an additional $5 billion a year to tackle the effects of climate change," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said at a seminar titled "Climate Justice and Peace in the Context of Bangladesh".
"If it weren't spent for this purpose, we could have spent the money on other development projects," he said.
The Department of Peace and Conflict Studies of Dhaka University and the foreign ministry jointly organised the seminar at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.
The seminar was a curtain-raiser of a two-day World Peace Summit, organised by the foreign ministry, to be held on 4-5 December at Dhaka.
"The developed countries cause damage, misuse and abuse privileges. But we have to pay the price for it. So far, 17 lakh of our people have died of climatic disasters. Hence, this is not justice," the minister added.
During his speech, Momen mentioned the limitation observed in the countries when it comes to compensating for the damage and further said, "Until we get justice, we need to keep organising campaigns on a massive level across the world and raise public awareness."
As the keynote speaker, Dr Rafiqul Islam, professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, said, "The increasing climate change has detrimental impacts on the GDP of Bangladesh. For example, the Asian Development Bank estimated that Bangladesh may experience a 2% GDP annual loss by 2050 because of climate change.",
"In the COP-26, the right-based organisations and world leaders have argued that COP26 could never be a true success without delivering climate justice. Global action on climate change must be just. They emphasised compensating indigenous people, developing countries, and the most affected communities."
However, he added, "COP26 has not been successful so far in ensuring climate justice. For example, Global Justice Now Activists argue that COP26 has equally failed to ensure climate justice and peace for the highly vulnerable people in the world."
Professor Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, pro-vice chancellor (Academic), Dhaka University, said, "We have to prepare proper documents on our losses for climate change induced by developed countries. Otherwise, we will lag behind in climate diplomacy and negotiations."
"Though our prime minister has a clear vision to fight against climate change, some actions of our government officials are going against environmental protection. We are destroying conserved forest for administrative building, planting trees unsuitable for our atmosphere and so on," Sadeka Halim, dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dhaka University, said.
Saifuddin Ahmed, chairman, Peace and Conflict department, attended the event as the moderator.
Ambassador Shabbir Ahmed Chowdhury, among others, was present as a speaker at the event.