Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Open Debate on “Addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security”
(25 January 2019, UNSC Chamber, UNHQs)
At the outset, I would like to thank you for taking the initiative to discuss the interlinkages between climate-related disasters and international peace and security. I would also like to express our deep appreciation for the distinguished speakers for their thought-provoking presentations.
Disasters induced by global climate change have the potential to turn out to be major security concerns. The findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warning of 1.5 degree Celsius warn us about the dangerous consequences that would follow particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, food security, and public health if we fail to limit the global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. These would eventually lead to the break out of conflicts and ensuing events such as displacement of communities.
Bangladesh is one of the worst affected countries by the impacts of global climate change due to its geographical location and is highly prone to natural disasters such as cyclone, flood, landslide, and earthquake. Climate change poses an existential threat to our 160 million people, although we had hardly contributed to the deterioration of the environment. Just 1-degree centigrade increase of global temperature and further sea-level rise will result in inundation of a large area of Bangladesh and thus the displacement of 40 Million people by the end of this century. 2% of our GDP is regularly lost due to natural calamities and environmental degradation. Climate change-induced salinity and other disasters are harming our rice and other crop production significantly. In addition to all these, we have been hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from neighboring Myanmar. This phenomenon is also impacting our environment severely.
Tackling climate change is directly linked with sustainable development and resilience building. In line with this perspective, under the leadership of its climate crusader Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is carrying forward its efforts for sustainable development with specific plans for ‘Carbon budgeting’, ‘de-carbonization of manufacturing pathways’ and low-carbon industrialization. Considering multidimensional vulnerabilities posed by climate change and disasters, our Government has recently adopted Delta Plan 2100, which will provide Bangladesh with the sustainable development pathway for the next 100 years
Bangladesh is committed to implementing its Nationally Determined Contributions in the framework of the Paris Agreement. We have mainstreamed climate actions and disaster management in our national planning and sustainable development strategy. Over 1 percent of our GDP is being used to combat climate change. To ensure food security for our people, we have been investing in transforming our agriculture and making it more resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters. Initiatives have been taken to increase tree coverage from 22% to 24% in the next five years. A project worth 50 million dollars is being implemented for the conservation of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Despite numerous challenges, at the national level, Bangladesh has been able to reduce casualties in incidents of natural disasters in recent times by taking various measures such as improvement in the early warning system, dissemination of information, the establishment of cyclone shelters and active engagement of dedicated Cyclone Preparedness Program volunteers for preparedness and response activities. Taken together, these initiatives have significantly increased the nation’s capacity to respond proactively to disasters.
The halting of the global climate change and reduce disaster risks will largely depend on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework to their true letter and spirit. The recently adopted Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has also acknowledged that investing in, and accelerating global cooperation for, climate change mitigation and adaptation would contribute to the elimination of the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin.
Hence, we must redouble our efforts for sustainable development. Bangladesh is of the firm view that climate change and related disasters must be discussed in the mold of international development cooperation. Big emitters must go for rapid mitigation of GHGs. Also, providing financial resources and ensuring technology transfer to the vulnerable countries for their adaptation efforts would be the most effective response to the threats to international peace and security posed by climate change and related disasters.
While we emphasize that effective implementation of Paris Agreement and other relevant global documents and mechanisms are must to fight the climate change effects, we are not ignoring the fact that there could be a nexus between climate change and international peace and security, especially in some places for example in Africa and SIDS countries. Thus, it is required that the whole UN system should work together to improve our knowledge and understanding to find out if climate change poses any direct threat to peace and security in a specific locality or it is one of the multiplying factors. The whole UN system should also talk in one voice for preventing and resolving any crisis that is an evident outcome of adverse effects of climate change.
Thank you, Mr. President.