Statement by Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, MP at the High-Level Meeting on the Protection of the Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Trusteeship Council, UNHQs, New York, 29 March 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to align with the statement delivered by the State of Palestine, as the Chair of the G77.
We thank you for convening this meeting particularly ahead of the SDG Summit and the Climate Action Summit to be held in September.
The findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degree Celsius about the dangerous consequences of global warming in the areas of poverty eradication, food security and public health are alarming. Thus, our conviction is reinforced that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is contingent upon our success in halting global climate change and reduce disaster risks. It is high time that we renew our efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework to their true letter and spirit.
Bangladesh is one of the 10 most climate vulnerable countries in the world. The impacts of climate change will put severe stress on our limited land. The rapid meltdown of the glaciers will dry up our rivers which are basically the catchments of the Himalayan glaciers. This will impact the fertility of our land leading to desertification. Climate change and sea level rise induced salinity and other disasters are harming our rice and other crop production significantly. Just 1-degree centigrade increase of global temperature and further sea level rise will result into inundation of a large area of Bangladesh and thus 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. Hence, climate change poses an existential threat to our over 160 million people, although we had hardly contributed to the deterioration of the environment.
Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her Government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement at different international fora with the utterance that, “Bangladesh will never exceed the average per capita emission of the developing world.” Tackling climate change is directly linked with sustainable development and resilience building. In line with this perspective, 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 implement 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 including introduction of drought and salinity resistant crop varieties. Initiatives have been taken to increase tree coverage from 22% to 24% in the next five years. A project worth 50 million dollar is being implemented for the conservation of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO world heritage site.
At the national level Bangladesh has been able to reduce casualties in incidents of natural disasters in recent times by taking various measures including the improvement in early warning system and dissemination of information through ICT, establishment of cyclone shelters etc. Taken together, these initiatives have significantly increased the nation’s capacity to respond proactively to disasters.
Bangladesh is at a critical juncture of its development when it is on the path of graduation from the LDC category. In addition to all the challenges we are facing because of climate change, we have been hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from the neighbouring Myanmar. This phenomenon is not only impacting our land and environment severely but also our development and adaptation efforts.
Bangladesh is of the firm view that climate change and sustainable development are interlinked and addressing climate change should be at the heart of the international development discourse. We must redouble our efforts for sustainable development. Simultaneously, the decisions of the Cop 24, namely Paris Rulebook, must be adhered to by all the stakeholders. The big emitters must go for rapid mitigation of GHGs, and the pledges to mobilize 100 billion USD annually by 2020 and an ambitious replenishment for the Green Climate Fund in 2019 must be materialized. The international community must support the vulnerable developing countries with financial resources and appropriate technologies in support of their adaptation efforts.
We look forward to the September Climate Summit to having more focused actions particularly on climate finance and climate justice which are essential for meeting the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
Thank you, Madam President.