Remarks made by Mr. Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN in New York at the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board 2020 First Regular Session Interactive Dialogue with the UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner on “Nature for Development” 4 February 2020

Thanks Mr. Chairman.

I would also like to thank you for your thoughtful and action -oriented statement delivered this morning.

The theme of this segment “Nature for Development” is very pertinent for all of us. Indeed, we need development for poverty eradication, food security and stability. However, if our pursuit for development fails to recognize the environmental concerns, that would lead to more poverty, more hunger and surely more conflicts. The transformative 2030 Agenda sends a strong message that climate change and implementation of the SDGs are interlinked and interdependent.

Bangladesh is now one of the most ecologically fragile countries in the world, although we have zero contribution to the deterioration of the environment. We lose 2% of our hard-earned developmental gains due to climate change every year. Just 1-degree centigrade increase of global temperature and further sea level rise will result in the displacement of 40 Million people.
This situation makes it imperative for us to tackle climate change and build resilience with urgency. We amended our constitution in 2011 to include a constitutional directive to the State to protect the environment and natural resources for current and future generations. Last year, our Parliament adopted a Motion declaring Planetary Emergency reflecting the importance our lawmakers attach to environment-friendly development.

We committed in our NDC, submitted during the adoption of the Paris Agreement, that we would go for unconditional mitigation of 5% of our total emission of GHGs and 15% subject to the support we get from the development partners. Bangladesh is committed to implement the Paris Agreement and other environment and climate change related agreements.
Further, Bangladesh created a Climate Change Trust Fund with its own resources to facilitate adaptation and resilience building of its people; regrettably the international finance for climate actions is far from adequate.

Mr. Administrator,
We need transformative and corrective actions from now on. And these actions should not be limited only to hardcore mitigation and adaptation efforts. We need to look beyond that and bring change in our day to day production and consumption patterns. We may aim for more nature -based solutions to lessen environmental degradation.

Bangladesh’s economy is booming with an average growth rate of 8%. The demand for electricity is rising fast and we are looking for environment-friendly sources for meeting this demand.
Bangladesh has one of the world’s largest domestic solar energy programmes. Off-grid solar home systems are improving living standards of more than 4 million households and about 20 million people in rural areas where electricity is not available. 1,000 solar irrigation pumps and 13 solar mini grids are also being used in agriculture as an alternative to electricity. The Government of Bangladesh is opening major new solar parks in addition to expanding the use of solar home systems. We have also launched wind power plants.

Furthermore, we are aware of the many recognized scientific researches that indicate that artificial fibres contribute to the environmental degradation of our planet. On the contrary, the natural fibres are eco and climate friendly and can be a source of nature-based solutions to combat climate change. Considering this, last year Bangladesh tabled a resolution on Natural Plant Fibres and Sustainable Development in the UN General Assembly that featured the challenges as well as the potential of natural plant fibres as economically viable, socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable agricultural products. The first of its kind, the resolution is expected to pave the way for fostering scientific research, development and cooperation at national, regional and global levels to ensure, in addition to its traditional use, the high end, value-added and innovative use of natural plant fibres and contribute to the reduction of the use of single use of plastic.

To conclude, I thank you Mr. Administrator for choosing the theme “Nature for Development” which is inextricably linked with our development priorities. As our development partner, UNDP can provide support to the governments and private sector in countries like Bangladesh by investing in homegrown technologies to make energy affordable and available to all.

Thank You.