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Sunday, October 25, 2009

[ALOCHONA] Sheikh Hasina in Stockholm

Sheikh Hasina seeks realistic fund for climate victim nations: Financing must be additional to ODA, not loans

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing a reception
accorded to her by Bangladeshi expatriates in Stockholm on
Friday. PID photo

Stockholm, October 23, 2009

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for establishing a realistic fund for Bangladesh and other least developed and developing countries for their climate change requirements.

Addressing the European Development Days' 2009 events, she also said that the financing to the climate victim nations should not be loans, and the scale of finance should be revised with changes in the adaptation needs.

Sheikh Hasina on Saturday morning (local time) addressed the plenary session of the 4th European Development Days, titled 'Climate Change:

The Road to Copenhagen and Beyond', at the Victoria Hall in the Swedish capital.

State Minister for Forest and Environment Dr Hasan Mahmud, Ambassador Ziauddin and Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad, among others, were in the Bangladesh delegation.

Hasina, as the third speaker of the session in presence of government representatives, Nobel Laureates, international experts, economists and environmentalists, said that the fund should start operating from 2010 onwards to 2020 in the first phase, and then beyond.

She said the climate change adaptation financing must be additional to and distinct from ODA targets of 0.7% of Gross National Income meant for the developing countries and 0.2% for LDCs by 2010, as reaffirmed in the Brussels Programme of Action.

Besides, the Prime Minister said, out of this Fund, every year a substantial amount should be kept aside for adaptation needs of developing countries with maximum share going to low lying coastal countries, LDCs and the small-island developing countries.

She said though Bangladesh established a US$ 45 million Climate Change Fund with own resources, and there is also a Multi-Donor Trust Fund of US$ 150 million with support of the United Kingdom, the amounts are meagre in comparison to the needs.

Sheikh Hasina observed that re-budgeting and readjusting of existing development assistance to developing countries, particularly LDCs, would jeopardize their ongoing projects and programs.

In Bangladesh, she said, much of the present ODA received is invested in alleviating poverty, healthcare, gender parity till graduation level in education, women empowerment through micro-credit, eliminating militancy and terrorism, energy, infrastructure, and social safety programs.

She further called for adopting a new legal regime under the UNFCCC Protocol ensuring social, cultural and economic rehabilitation of climate refugees from COP 15 in Copenhagen.

Bangladesh and other most vulnerable countries (MVC) to climate change are anxiously looking forward to Copenhagen, Hasina said.

"The outcome in the Copenhagen meet must uphold the core principle of common but differentiated share of responsibility; assured, adequate, and easily accessible funding for adaptation; access to scientific information to climate change in sectors like risk reduction, water resources, agriculture, energy, urban planning and health disorders."

She also said that the Copenhagen meet must also ensure affordable, eco-friendly technology transfer to developing countries, particularly to LDCs; make maximum possible specific commitments for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for atmospheric stabilization.

The post 2012 agreement must, however, incorporate predictable and legally binding commitments for addressing adaptation needs of low lying, coastal, and small-island developing states, and LDCs.

Sheikh Hasina amid serious concern apprised the EU event participants that with no fault of its own, 40 million people in Bangladesh will lose their livelihood, and 20 million will be displaced by 2050 because of the natural calamities to be created by the climate change impacts.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has thus placed Bangladesh as most vulnerable to floods, third most to tsunamis, and sixth most to cyclones, in terms of human exposure, she told the international audience.

Hasina said scientific findings indicate that a meter rise of sea level due to global warming would inundate a fourth of Bangladesh, including the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sunderbans, also an UNESCO World heritage site.

The MDG gains on food, health, education and poverty alleviation would be lost, she said, adding that already, climate change conditions are costing Bangladesh's economy's 0.5% to 1% of GDP.

Sheikh Hasina in her address mentioned that to face the threats of the global warming, her government has chalked out various plans and projects, including capital and maintenance dredging, reclaim inundated lands and maintain navigability.

Meanwhile, 14,000 cyclone shelters have been constructed with more in the offing, she said.

Moreover, she said Bangladesh has adopted adaptation plans including developing crop varieties attuned to climate change, covering 20% of land area with forests by 2015, intensifying micro-financing, strengthening coastal belts with mangrove plantations; modernizing disaster management system to tackle the climate threats.

Sheikh Hasina further called for establishing an International Adaptation Center under UNFCCC.

"Bangladesh also feels the need of a Himalayan Council in the model of the Artic Council to assist similarly affected countries in facing the challenges of glacial melting in the Himalayas."

She said though the prime responsibility of mitigation rests on the developed countries, Bangladesh is preparing a strategic energy plan for following a low carbon path to development where the measures included social forestry, clean coal technology, nuclear power, and renewable energy.

She mentioned that already 600,000 solar home systems have been installed; vehicles converted to using compressed natural gas as fuel; industries producing toxic waste relocated equipped with effluent treatment facilities; and biodegradable material used as alternate to synthetics.

The Prime Minister voiced her government's strong commitment to turn Bangladesh into a country self-sufficient in food overcoming the challenges of the climate change.

She called upon the international community to reject all myopic, self- centered discords, reject the culture of excess and waste, to embrace one another's responsibility, burden, prosperity, and live in harmony within the planet's capacity. [source: New Nation]


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