Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said all stakeholders must work closely to prevent permanent inundation of coastal areas due to climate change
"We need to go deeper for mitigation, to protect our people from getting inundated due to the sea level rise and river erosion, and from becoming climate migrants," he said while inaugurating the Climate Camp 2021 arranged by Earth Society, with support from EMK Center to mark World Environment Day.
The minister said one solution could be building climate resilient structures along the vulnerable coastal lines.
"We need to create embankments high enough and wide enough to sustain natural disasters," he said, adding that mangroves, if planted alongside the embankments, will buffer the impacts of cyclones and other calamities.
AK Abdul Momen reiterated that Bangladesh is at the forefront of the global effort to reduce the effects of climate change and restore the ecological balance.
"Bangladesh is the victim of global pollution without being a polluter. We spend on an average 2.5% of our GDP on climate change adaptation and resilience-building projects."
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to be affected significantly by climate change, with impacts on the national economy, lives and livelihoods, Momen said.
The minister drew attention to the rising extreme weather conditions in recent years, saying they will only get more extreme due to climate change.
He highlighted government efforts to introduce renewable energy and reduce pollution.
"We've installed more than 5.8 million solar-home systems in off-grid areas to ensure renewable energy supply to 80 million people," he said.
A major transformation in the urban transport system will bring down air pollution. As the Mass Rapid Transit commonly known as metro rail is being introduced in Dhaka city, it will significantly reduce air pollution, Momen said.
He said he strongly believed that the youth and the civil society in collaboration with the government could work towards addressing climate change.
Nahim Razzaq, MP of Sariatpur -3 and convener of Climate Parliament Bangladesh, echoed his view and said the youth need to take the lead in creating an environment where the restoration of nature is possible.
"We're seeing the devastating effects of cyclones like Amphan and Yaas. We need to be careful in utilising our natural resources," he added.
Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF) Special Envoy Abul Kalam Azad said the population in cities will be more than double by 2050 across the world.
"Do we ever think that we need to conserve the biodiversity of the cities? We know how to handle the cyclone (reducing the loss of lives) but the devastation (of properties) has rather been multiplied."
Abul Kalam lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in CVF Bangladesh Presidency.
UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee said human interference disrupted the environmental balance and Bangladesh is at risk because of the increasing deforestation.
"Due to the country's extreme vulnerability to natural calamities, forestry in coastal areas is important," he said.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert C Dickson and European Climate Foundation (ECF) Country Lead Monower Mostafa also attended the ceremony.
The two-day (5-6 June) climate camp will see selected 50 organisers and their 400 participants from different parts of Bangladesh share their ideas, solutions, and best practices on "Resetting Our Relation with Nature".