Civil society members at a seminar have called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to raise the issue of accelerating global initiatives to rehabilitate those affected by climate change at the "Leaders Summit on Climate" to be held on 22-23 April.
Coast Foundation, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), Clean-BD, BIPNET-CCBD and CPRD organised the virtual seminar titled "Conference on Climate Change: Civil Society Expectations" on Saturday.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), termed the summit an acid test for all those involved in tackling the impact of climate change, including the 40 participating countries.
Speaking as the chief guest, he said that it should not be limited to climate change. In this changing world, things like Covid-19 can no longer be ignored. Discussions in this regard should also be talked about.
"Besides, new technologies, such as green technology, should be discussed here. However, we also have to keep in mind that America has concerns regarding this summit and the country will want to discuss with us prioritising those concerns," he added.
"However, even if their interests are discussed with priority and if it is good for the world, we have to continue our cooperation. If we have a benefit or a win-win situation, we have to utilise it," he said further.
"However, in that case, I think we should work towards the goal of 2030 without targeting 2050 because we have already suffered a lot. If we do not work hard to compensate the displaced people, the amount of damage will increase," he said.
"For this, it is necessary to work rather than delivering speeches. It is through this summit that our position on the next Conference of Parties (COP) will be finalised," he suggested.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, "We need to talk openly about the problems of the financing process. Maybe there is no direct solution, no decision can be made."
"However, a political mandate can indeed be achieved from the "Leaders Summit on Climate", which will play an important role in the forthcoming COP.
At the same time, the issues of the adaptation process should be identified and presented to the rich countries so that our participation in solving the problems caused by climate change is ensured."
Kholiquzzaman also said, "We will understand the problems of our country better and we have to present a specific message at the summit to solve the problems."
Professor Ainun Nishat said Bangladesh may not benefit from market management under the Paris Agreement. "In that case, we need to focus on financing and climate migration. We have to work with loss and damage."
"In 2016 and 2020, Bangladesh had to import rice from rice exporting countries. Climate change has put pressure on our food cycle. The developed countries will not take responsibility directly. WE have to make them understand it," he said.
He further said, "Besides, we need to be prepared for the proper implementation of the funds that come or will come into our hands. We have to have a plan of how we will spend that money.
Presenting the keynote address at the seminar, Syed Aminul Hoque from COAST Foundation said that the United States needs to adopt a national plan to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 so that it stands at 0% by 2050.
The United States needs to meet its three billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund and relax its intellectual property rights to help adapt and mitigate the countries that are at risk most, he added.
Fearing an existential crisis due to the effects of climate change, MP of Gaibandha-1 Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary said, "River erosion occurs three times a year in my area. People are losing their homes. These issues need to be addressed at the summit. Funds should be raised through multilateral negotiations to ensure our safety."
Executive Director-BCAS Dr Atiq Rahman said the United States is organising a show in the name of the summit, forgetting their role for the last four years and the amount of carbon it emitted. "And if the mighty country organises this summit for their own benefit, we have to be tactful."
Former Additional Secretary of MoEFCC Dr Manjurul Hannan Khan said that various harmful projects in the name of carbon emissions projects will be implemented by developed countries by MVC, which should not be accepted. In this summit, 50% allocation has to be ensured for adaptation.
BAPA General Secretary Sharif Jamil said that as a result of increasing salinity on the coast, pregnant women still have to walk three kilometres to collect drinking water in Bangladesh, a very important issue to be addressed. Therefore, there should be a discussion on understanding the share of fair water from India.
Hasan Mehedi of CLEAN-BD said USA investors need to raise demands to stop investing in carbon emissions projects. Companies like General Motors need to reduce investment in this sector. Because the United States alone emits 116 times more global greenhouse gases. The United States and other major carbon emitters need to understand this.