The most vulnerable countries (MVCs) demanded the developed countries to reduce their emission by 45 percent in aggregate against 1990 levels by 2020 and make available fund of $150 billion a year to help protect the victims.
Civil society representatives from the MVCs made the call at a three-day international civil society conference on the rights of the most vulnerable countries in climate negotiations ended at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel here yesterday with a ‘Dhaka Declaration.’
They also demanded that annex 1 Parties (developed nations) must reduce their emission by at least 45 percent in aggregate against 1990 levels by 2020.
They also made a call to all parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reach such an agreement at the 15th conference of parties (COP15) in December in Copenhagen so that the global greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2015 as it is a question of survival for people.
At the conference, they also demanded to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
“We urge all Parties to the UNFCCC to ensure that an agreement is reached at COP15 to ensure our continued survival,” the Dhaka declaration stated.
“Adapting to climate change is not a choice, it is a necessity,” it added.
Ziaul Hoque Mukta of the Campaign for Sustainable Development in Bangladesh read out the declaration at a press meet held following the conference.
He said of the $150 billion a year requested for developing countries, $50 billion a year should be targeted for adaptation projects in the MVCs and it should not take the form of loans.
Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow of UK-based Institute for Environment and Development, said civil society in vulnerable countries have to ensure their own governments struck the best deal in the upcoming climate meet in Copenhagen.
“We need to provide assistance. What is not yet agreed is how much money is involved, figures range from $50 billion to $100 billion,” said Huq.
The conference was jointly organised by the Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Oxfam.
Civil society representatives from the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Niger, Tanzania, Samoa, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines attended the conference.
Source: The Daily Star, 30 July 2009
Int’l Climate Change Talks: Appoint permanent negotiators
Experts urge govt
Experts at a discussion meeting yesterday urged the government to appoint one or two permanent negotiators to lead the country’s delegation to international climate change negotiations.
“The negotiators are usually changed in line with the changeover of political government. So they cannot achieve expected success form their mission. We should bring an end to this culture and appoint permanent negotiators for continuing climate change negotiations,” they added.
The discussion on ‘Revised text for climate change negotiation’ was organised jointly by the Sustainable Development Networking Foundation (SDNF) and the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) at the National Press Club in the city.
The meeting was organised to exchange views with the cross section of people to revise the text drafted for the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dr Asaduzzaman, secretary of the SDNF, Dr Rezaul Karim, environment specialist, and Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, chairman of FEJB, presented separate keynote papers which focused on global negotiations on climate change, technology transfer and the country’s position at the climate change negotiation.
They said the neighbouring country India has a number of skilled permanent negotiators.
“Our government should also take such steps to create expert and permanent negotiators,” they added.
Addressing the meeting State Minister for Environment and Forest Advocate Mostafizur Rahman said the present government allocated Tk 700 crore in the current fiscal year, and the immediate-past caretaker government allocated Tk 300 crore for short, mid and long-term projects to face the challenges of climate change.
But the fund remained unutilised in absence of any legal framework on how to use it, he added.
Mostafizur said the revised version of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, and the draft on the utilisation of Climate Change Trust Fund have already been submitted to the cabinet division for approval.
“As a policy maker of the government I will try my best to incorporate all the experts keeping political divide aside to work together for addressing the adverse effects of climate change. Only coordinated efforts can face the challenges of climate change for our survival,” he said.
Terming the Copenhagen conference a milestone in addressing the global climate change, Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, vice chancellor of BRAC University, said, “’We have to build up our capacity to realise our due share from the conference for adaptation as a least developed country.”
He also suggested formation of a separate group of ‘most vulnerable countries (MVC) to raise their voice unitedly at the global forum.
Dr Ainun Nishat, an environment specialist, said to protect its own interest Bangladesh should look for forging unity with other most vulnerable countries (MVC) and take initiative to make the group acceptable to others engaged in the negotiations.
Moderated by FEJB Chairman Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, the meeting was also attended by a number of NGO representatives.
Source: The Daily Star, 30 July 2009
Disasters on rise in coastal areas due to climate change
Speakers tell discussion
Speakers at a discussion yesterday said as the frequency and magnitude of natural disasters has been increasing rapidly in coastal belt due to climate change impacts, the government should take specific steps to protect some 3.48 crore people in the areas.
People living in the coastal belts are becoming more vulnerable day by day, they added.
The speakers said this at the discussion styled ‘Climate change and the steps to protect the coastal people’ jointly organised by Community Development Centre (Codec) and Weekly 2000 at the National Press Club in the city.
The increased frequency of cyclone and tidal wave not only destructs the houses, embankments, streets and resources of around 710 kilometres area, it also hampers the livelihood of the people living there.
Saline water that entered the cultivable land following two cyclone — Sidr and Aila — has increased salinity of the land which will not be able for cultivation even after two to three years, said the local representatives.
They further said that some 140 kinds of fishes are extinct from the Sitakunda estuary in the last few years and the lives of the fishermen are already jeopardised.
A total of 5 unions among 12 of Ramgati upazila have been eroded by the rivers, they said adding that poor maintenance of the embankments, lack of cyclone centres and rehabilitation mechanism for the people of coastal areas made them more vulnerable which should be paid heed by the government.
Furthermore, around 200 ship-breaking yards continue to pollute the environment of coastal belt and leads to increase diseases, they added.
Speaking as the chief guest, Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzak said the government has already prepared the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2008 for a long-term and sustainable management of disaster.
The government wants assistance from the donor countries for sustainable management of disaster and for setting up water treatment plant to reduce water salinity, he noted.
Dr Atik Rahman said though Bangladesh is efficient in combating cyclone, it is yet to gain efficiency in combating flood that causes huge loss of lives and properties every year.
Dr Ainun Nishat stressed the need to establish more cyclone centres in coastal areas as due to lack of cyclone centres, some 5000 people are forced to stay in a centre that is prepared for 500 people only.
“The issue of climate change and its negative impacts on Bangladesh should be raised in the international forums seriously,” he added.
Kamal Sen Gupta, deputy executive director of Codec, presented a keynote paper.
Former adviser to a caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury, Dhirendra Chandra Devnath MP, Kamrul Islam Chowdhury, Akhter Habib, Dr Hamidul Haque and journalist Abdul Momen also spoke.
Source: The Daily Star, 30 July 2009