Climate vulnerable countries
No decision has been made yet over getting compensation for climate vulnerable countries, said Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin. “No decision has been made yet regarding the compensation to the vulnerable countries including Bangladesh, though Bangladesh and other countries are still hopeful that a decision about financial assistance from the developing countries will come,” he told UNB. COP27 is taking place in Egypt from 6-18 November where Bangladesh is playing a crucial role as one of the top actors on behalf of the vulnerable countries that are desperate to get funds to tackle the impacts of climate change. Due to climate change, natural disasters are occurring frequently around the globe. Owing to the impact of it, people not only experience the infrastructural damage, but also lose everything including income sources and crops, he said. Because of increasing salinity, access to safe water is becoming difficult in coastal areas. As a result, people have to collect water from remote places, wasting working hours, he added. Besides, the fishermen failed to catch fish during a certain period of time due to frequent depression in the Bay, forcing them to change their profession, said the minister. Meanwhile, people are becoming homeless due to the riverbank erosion while people who depend on forests lose their work due to the heat wave, he said. Replying to a question, the minister said “Loss and damage financing is on the agenda for discussion at the COP conference, and Bangladesh and other countries have welcomed the initiative. How the financing will be made, will be fixed through a framework, and it will take time.” Ziaul Haque, a member of the Bangladesh team, said that they are seeking a green climate fund or adaptation fund under the loss and damage formula, but the rich countries are not interested in it. Also read: Adapting to climate change is the main focus of COP27: Info Minister “They give money, but they do not give that as compensation…we just want funds,” he said. Md Shamsuddoha, a climate expert observing the climate conference, told UNB that it should be fixed what is loss and damage before financing. “Damaging infrastructure during natural disasters is not a loss and damage, but the impact that natural disasters have on the livelihood of the local community would come under loss and damage by which people are directly affected.” Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said that the developing countries had promised to provide $100 billion as green fund, but they are now showing the Russia-Ukraine war as an excuse. “It’s not right. As a vulnerable country, the more we wait to get compensation, the more our losses will increase. We should take measures for quick preparations to overcome the damages.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday placed a five-point proposal, including the green recovery of climate vulnerable countries with support from the developed nations, as the climate change has brought them to a threshold. “Developed nations should facilitate the green recovery of the CVF-V20 countries. Dedicated support is required for reducing the cost of capital and encouraging private sector participation,” she said while placing her proposals in the first V20 Climate Vulnerable Finance Summit. Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), opened the Summit organised by Finance Ministers of the Vulnerable Twenty (V-20), joining it virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. “Every country must pursue an ambitious target to curb Greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature-rise below 1.5ºC,” she said. “Fund flow must be predictable, balanced, innovative and incremental. Development partners and international financial institutions should adopt a user-friendly process of fund allocation and disbursement. There must be synergies among various climate funds,” she said in the third proposal. “Rich nations must help CVF-V20 countries by closing the existing financial gaps in protecting climate-induced disasters. Financial support is needed to introduce smart insurance premium subsidies and capitalization of insurance products for CVF countries,” said Hasina, placing the fourth proposal. “Finally, every vulnerable country may actively consider adopting a 'climate prosperity plan' like our 'Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan.' I request the international community to provide all-out support to realize our plans,” she said, putting forward the fifth proposal. The Prime Minister said Earth is in a dire state. “We must be sensible in our actions. Let’s work together to build a strong climate resilience world.” Also read: Hasina suggests 6 points for framing post-Covid global recovery plan She urged the finance ministers, development partners, international financial institutions, and multilateral development banks to find innovative financing solutions for climate prosperity. Hasina said the disastrous impacts of climate change mainly caused by GreenHouse Gas emissions are loudly visible around the world. “We must reverse these for our survival and survival of our future generations,” she added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon all to remain united in the war against nature to avert a possible loss for mankind. “In our war against nature, we’ll lose unless we unite,” she wrote in the renowned magazine Diplomat in its April 2021 issue. In the write up – ‘Forging Dhaka-Glasgow CVF-COP26 Solidarity’ – she said that humans are consciously destroying the very support systems that are keeping us alive. “What planet shall we leave for the Greta Thunbergs or those at the Bangladesh Coastal Youth Action Hubs? At COP26 we must not fail them,” she said. Sheikh Hasina, currently the president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), said, we want to see climate financing unleashed, not only towards low-carbon economy, but also for the promised US$100 billion, and 50 percent dedicated to climate resilience-building. Also read: Leaders Summit on Climate: Kerry due Apr 9 to invite PM Hasina “We want to see international carbon markets unlocked for transnational climate cooperation and solutions found to our profound loss, damage and climate injustice,” she added. She mentioned that the CVF represents over one billion of the world’s most vulnerable communities, whose very survival is threatened by the slightest sea level rise, frequent hurricanes or rapid desertification. In this connection, she said that for Bangladesh, often referred to as the ‘ground zero’ of natural disasters, climate change is a survival battle braved by millions of our resilient people whose homes, lands and crops are lost to the recurring wrath of nature. Every year, 2% of country’s GDP is lost to extreme climate events. By the turn of the century, it will be 9%. By 2050, more than 17% of its coastlines will go underwater displacing 30 million. Six million Bangladeshis have already become climate displaced. And yet the country continues to bear the 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar at the cost of environmental havoc in Cox’s Bazar. “Who will pay for this loss and damage?” She asked. Also read: Climate adaptation: Bangladesh for making finance more accessible The Prime Minister wrote that like Bangladesh, every CVF nation has an irreversible climate loss and damage story to tell. “But they contributed little to global emissions. It is time to address this climate injustice.” She said that international cooperation on climate had been de-prioritised by the US for several years. International climate finance was falling far short of the $100 billion pledged at Paris. “The G-20, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of global emissions lacked the political will to finance transactional carbon markets to support low-carbon projects in vulnerable countries. Loss and damage remained a far cry.” And then, she said, COVID-19 hit us like a bolt from the blue, triggering the triple perils of climate, health and nature. A rude awakening finally forced the world to heed to my warning that the climate crisis is indeed an emergency. And any recovery had to be green, nature-based and resilient. Therefore, my first act as CVF President was to declare climate change a ‘planetary emergency’ and call upon all to be on a ‘war footing’ to arrest global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees. Also read: Bangladesh with Maldives in fighting climate change: PM “By Autumn 2020, I’d seen very few NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), and COP26 was postponed, so I launched the ‘Midnight Survival Deadline for the Climate’ initiative at the CVF Leaders’ Summit,” Sheikh Hasina said. She said that US President Joe Biden’s returning to the Paris treaty was also inspiring. “But those who failed to meet CVF’s midnight-deadline, I urge them, to submit ambitious NDCs ahead of COP26. CVF’s most vulnerable members pledged no less than a net-zero by 2030, including Barbados, Costa Rica and the Maldives.” Talking about Bangladesh, she wrote that Bangladesh, the CVF member with the largest population, also submitted interim NDC updates with additional pledges over and above Paris to reduce methane emissions. For Bangladesh and the CVF, climate adaptation and financing is a prime ‘survival’ priority as we relentlessly struggle to protect our populations from recurrent extreme climate events. “Realistically, my climate survival philosophy has been a common sense one. ‘Help thy self’ and wait for no one to rescue. Because, climate change is not going to spare us for our inactions.” As a testament to this, she said, she had long championed locally-led adaptation and resilience-building at the heart of which are local actors, especially women and youth. In 2020, when Category-5 Cyclone Amphan mercilessly hit Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh demonstrated its capability to evacuate 2.4 million people and half-a-million livestock to safety in less than five days. Also read: Climate change: Hasina seeks more actions than words That same year, two-thirds of Bangladesh went under water in flash floods during the pandemic. Even though this double jeopardy cost $3.5 billion in GDP losses, disaster preparedness of Bangladesh saved millions of lives. She said that Bangladesh has also learnt to self-finance its climate projects. The government has thus created a $450 million Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund that supports nearly 800 adaptation and resilience projects in its vulnerable coasts. “We are spending on an average 2.5 per cent of our GDP – US$5billion each year – on climate adaptation and resilience-building.” She said that Bangladesh built 16.4km of sea dykes, 12,000 cyclone shelters and 200,000 hectares of coastal plantation. The scientists invented nature-based solutions for the country’s coastal communities, such as salinity and stress tolerant crops, rain reservoirs and pond-sand-filters, floating agriculture technology and mobile water treatment plants. In Bangladesh, the Prime Minister wrote, we are now championing climate prosperity. By pioneering the ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Decade 2030,’ named after Bangladesh’s Founding Father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during his birth centenary, I have called CVF nations to initiate ‘climate prosperity plans.’ We have already planted 11.5 million trees under our plan. These are strategic, low carbon investment frameworks integrated into national development plans for capturing our growth and prosperity. But the CVF can only do so much on its own. “There is a limit to adaptation too!” she said. “It is vital to build strong CVF-COP solidarity. We want to see a Dhaka-Glasgow-CVF-COP26 Declaration emerge from November’s meeting. We, the climate vulnerable nations want to see G20 submit ambitious NDCs before COP26.”