Although most young people in Bangladesh are worried about climate change, about 72% of them remain unaware of what the country's government has been doing to combat it.
The information came on the last day (12 March) of the two-day Global Youth Climate Summit 2021.
The summit highlighted a survey on 'Youth and Climate Change' in the context of Bangladesh. Around 2000 youths aged between 18 and 35 were surveyed in eight divisions of the country, with 85% of the participants from urban areas and 15% from rural regions.
Dr Nurul Islam Nazem, professor and chairman of Department of Geography and Environment, University of Dhaka, and Taieba Hosne Ishrat, deputy manager (Research, Monitoring and Evaluation) of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), presented the results of the survey.
According to the survey, about 85% of young people in Bangladesh learn about climate change in school, which is higher than in any other South Asian country (Unicef, 2021).
About 50% of the participants perceived climate change as a future problem while 70% of young people were worried about the consequences of climate change.
According to young people, deforestation, industrial pollution, global warming, fossil fuel, plastic pollution and increased population were the key causes of climate change.
The survey further showed that due to its geographical location, high population density and inadequate infrastructure and resources, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate change.
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, citing a German-based research report, said that Bangladesh held the position of the 7th most at-risk country in the world due to climate change.
"The Bangladesh government is aware of climate change and it has already taken up a 100-year master plan, 'Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100', focusing on flood management, prevention of river erosion, urban and rural water supply and waste and drainage management," she added.
She also hoped that the young people participating in the summit would play a key role in creating awareness about climate change.
Dr A Atiq Rahman, executive director of Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, said that it was indeed unfortunate that young Bangladeshis were not being involved in the government's response to climate change.
"Young people are not aware of political case study nor what the government is doing, and this picture should be changed. Young people need to be more engaged in the battle against climate change," he said.
Highlighting Bangladesh's sufferings due to climate change, Rahman pointed out that there had been four floods in the country in the course of the pandemic.
He urged developed countries to create a 'Climate Change Trust Fund' so that developing and less developed countries affected by climate change could be assisted through that fund.
On the second day of the Global Youth Climate Summit, three different sessions were hosted via the video conferencing platform Zoom.
Twelve youth climate champions were selected from the pool of 175 applications received from some 80 countries. Each of the selected participants will receive a full scholarship to attend a leadership course and a $1,000 award for their climate restoration projects.
The summit was organized in partnership with the California-based Foundation for Climate Restoration, Resilient Markets and the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge.