Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the international community to initiate discussions on creation of an appropriate framework to address the needs of the people who got displaced due to climate change.
“We must appreciate that migration could be an effective adaptation strategy, as we focus on enhancing adaptation capacities of affected communities. Hence, relocation and protection of displaced persons need due focus in global discourse to ensure their protection. We need to commence discussions on creation of an appropriate framework to address the needs of people displaced due to climate change,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the call while addressing the Action for Survival: Vulnerable Nations COP25 Leaders’ Summit at Feria de Madrid (IFEMA) in Madrid, the capital of Spain.
She said it is widely accepted that the gravest effect of climate change may be on human migration. Extreme weather events are already displacing many more people than violent conflicts. Slow-onset events like sea-level rise and desertification get even lower global focus. “We must work towards correcting this imbalance.”
Pointing at the leaders of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), Sheikh Hasina said, “We now have a situation where the most vulnerable countries, which deserve the highest level of priority, are failing to access whatever support that is being realized.”
She said creation of a new CVF and V20 Trust Fund and possibility of having a new Special Rapporteur on climate change would be a great success.
Noting that CVF and V-20 are great examples of South-South and Triangular cooperation, she said, “We want to further build on the current accomplishments. The time is now to act as we’re at the most important crossroad of human history confronting possibly the gravest global challenge of our time.”
She said climate change has now become an existential threat for every country, especially for the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh.
With more than 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar causing all sorts of environmental havocs, Bangladesh already has the firsthand experience of the worst kind of environmental calamity, she said.
“We must therefore establish a set of criteria to prioritize vulnerable countries based on their risks, impacts and lack of coping capacities. We also want to keep the climate change support and the regular development finance strictly separate,” she added.
Hasina said major emitters show extreme reluctance on mitigation, which may wreck the international climate regime and put the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh at the risk of peril. “Hence, we shouldn’t hesitate to demand accountability for inaction.”
“We’re also looking towards the 2020 Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands to strengthen our adaptation efforts. And Bangladesh is ready to take the responsibility of the Presidency of the Forum if the Members kindly agree to honour us with this task,” she said.
The Prime Minister said climate change is a stark reality for the world. It has now caused irreversible damages to human life and environment, ecology and natural resources, she said.
Since the Earth Summit in 1992, it has not been able to secure much progress in the reduction of greenhouse gases and their emission is still on the rise, she said adding that this trend is now unsustainable for the Earth.
“We, the vulnerable countries, suffer the most due to our limited coping capacities and specific geographical features. We’re bearing the brunt of the damage though we made negligible or no contribution to the menace. This constitutes a serious injustice and must be acknowledged by the global community,” said the Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, she said, the progress under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) process is very slow and largely inadequate. There’s still hardly any move to support nationally determined adaption initiatives undertaken especially by our vulnerable countries, the PM added.
Different funds created for different purposes lack availability of the required capital, she pointed out.
“Often direct and easy access to funds and technology along with conditions and criteria seem to favour mostly the countries that already have acquired greater capacities,” Hasina told her audience.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria, among others, spoke at the event.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday sought “continuous collaborative effort” to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as committed to in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The United Nations, governments, civil society and other partners have been working together to scale up access to health services and to halt new HIV infections,” he said in a message marking the World AIDS Day that falls on December 1.
The UN chief said more than 23 million people living with HIV were receiving treatment in 2018.
Guterres said communities around the world are at the heart of this response - helping people to claim their rights, promoting access to stigma-free health and social services, ensuring that services reach the most vulnerable and marginalised, and pressing to change laws that discriminate.
“As the theme of this year’s observance rightly highlights, communities make the difference,” he said adding that yet unmet needs remain.
Guterres said a record 38 million people are living with HIV, and resources for the response to the epidemic declined by $1 billion last year.
“More than ever we need to harness the role of community-led organisations that advocate for their peers, deliver HIV services, defend human rights and provide support,” he said.
Guterres said where communities are engaged, they see change happen.
“We see investment lead to results. And we see equality, respect and dignity. With communities, we can end AIDS,” he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday morning left Dhaka for Madrid, Spain, to attend the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25).
The world’s annual climate summit, COP25, will be held in Madrid, the Spain’s central capital, on December 2-13 under the UN framework convention on climate change.
A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the Prime Minister and her entourage took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10:15am.
The flight is scheduled to land at Madrid Torrejon Airport at 5:40pm (Spanish time) where she will be received by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the World Tourism Organization Hassan Mahmood Khandker.
On Monday morning, the Prime Minister will attend the inaugural ceremony of COP25, its general roundtable titled ‘National Plans to Increase Ambition by 2020’ at Feria de Madrid (IFEMA).
After attending the official luncheon, she will again participate in the working session of the COP25 – Dialogue between governments and civil society titled 'Enhancing Action Together’ – in the afternoon.
On the sideline of the climate summit, Sheikh Hasina will have meetings with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez there.
Later in the evening, Sheikh Hasina will attend the reception to be hosted by the King and Queen of Spain at the Royal Palace.
On December 2, the Prime Minister will deliver her speech at Heads of State and Government Summit highlighting climate change and Bangladesh’s position, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at press conference on Wednesday last.
On Monday morning, the PM will leave Madrid by a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the World Tourism Organization Hassan Mahmood Khandker will see her off at the airport.
The flight is scheduled to land at Dhaka airport at 12:40am (Bangladesh time) on Wednesday.
Bangladesh has been elected Vice Chairperson of the Unesco Executive Board from the electoral group four - Asian and Pacific States - for the next two years.
Bangladesh got elected unanimously Vice Chair of the Unesco Executive Board at its 208th session held at the Unesco headquarters on Friday.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Equatorial Guinea Agapito Mba Mokuy has been elected Chairperson of the Unesco Executive Board for the tenure 2019-2021.
Bangladesh is also an elected member of the Unesco Executive Board for the tenure – 2017-2021, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Paris on Friday night.
There are the six electoral groups - Western European and North American States, Eastern European States, Latin-American and Caribbean States, Asian and Pacific States, African States and Arab States.
Apart from Bangladesh, Switzerland, Russia, Saint Lucia, Ethiopia and Egypt have been elected Vice chairpersons from five other electoral groups.
The Executive Board is one of the three constitutional organs of Unesco (the others being the General Conference and the Secretariat) and it is elected by the General Conference, confirmed Bangladesh Embassy in Paris on Friday night.
Acting under the authority of the General Conference, the Board examines the programme of work for the Organisation and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General.
It consists of 58 Member States each with a four-year term of office.
The 58 Member States are elected to the Executive Board according to this system of regional grouping whereby each region is allocated a specific number of seats on the Board.
Ministers and high-level officials from 45 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have committed to intensify priority actions towards realising women’s rights and fundamental freedoms for an equal future.
The Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+25 Review was adopted after intense negotiations at a three-day Ministerial Conference, organied by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
The Declaration will serve as the regional input to the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the global review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in New York next March, according to a message received here from Bangkok on Friday.
“The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is an opportunity for us to take stock of our progress and accelerate efforts. I am delighted member states from across Asia-Pacific have seized it and agreed an ambitious forward-looking Declaration which strengthens the region’s commitment to action on gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Alisjahbana.
The significance of this region being able to adopt this Declaration today, which articulates clear and strategic actions to be taken to address gender agenda, cannot be overstated, highlighted United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Anita Bhatia.
While Asia and the Pacific have made remarkable advancements so far, the Declaration notes several emerging megatrends slowing the progress of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the region, such as climate change, intensifying disaster risks, growing digital divide, rapid urbanisation, rising inequalities within and between countries, and increasing acts of violence and extremism against women and girls.
The Declaration recognises women as key contributors and vital agents in combating poverty and inequalities, and calls upon governments to ensure inclusive social protection systems, public services and infrastructure.
With its adoption, countries also committed to ensure women’s economic empowerment and the integration of women into the formal economy.
The governments agreed to take appropriate measures and extend legal and social protections to ensure that all women and girls have equal opportunities for education, decent work, favourable conditions of work and financial inclusion.
Countries further committed to work together with key stakeholders to transform negative gender norms, discriminatory social attitudes and to eliminate structurally unequal power relations that persist between women and men.
They additionally highlighted the need to strengthen gender-responsive national statistical systems and data collection for an enhanced understanding of gender gaps in the region.
The governments also called upon ESCAP to continue serving as a regional and subregional platform to promote greater dialogue and cooperation among countries.
The Declaration mandates ESCAP, in collaboration with other UN agencies, to support relevant national institutions in monitoring and implementing the global Beijing Platform for Action commitments.