Session Title: Ecosystem based Approaches to Climate Change
Topic: Ecosystem based Coping Strategies for Managing Climate Crises
Excellency Mr. Hugh Hilton Todd, Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Government of GuyanaParticipating Hon’ble Ministers ofthe countries of the Group of 77 and China
Distinguished delegates and experts
Good Morning and Good Afternoon
At the outset let me congratulate and sincerely thank the government of Guyana for its effective chairmanship of Group of 77 and China, and hosting this important ministerial meeting.
Ecosystem based adaptation to climate change is the best way of dealing with climate change through maintaining natural structure and functioning of ecosystems and natural resource base. Healthy ecosystems underpin people’s efforts to adapt to climate change. For example, wetlands and water bodies improve water quality and help to absorb sudden downpours, while providing co-benefits such as source of fresh water, habitat for fish and wildlife,amenity value, etc. Coral reefs and mangroves can moderate the impact of storm surges, helping coastal communities to protect against extreme weather events. Plantation and re-excavation of canals and water bodies can slow down the process of land degradation and improve the livelihood of the community. Urban green areas can reduce temperature and serve as run-off to cope with heavy rainfall by increasing the permeable surface whereby minimizing waterlogging problems in urban settings. So it is of great importance to explore better use of nature based solutions to the negative impacts of climate change and to increase the resilience of our development efforts.
Considering the time limit let me share one specific example on Bangladesh. You know, our coastal populations have been hardest hit by the both extreme climatic events such asstrong cyclones and storm surges as well as slow onset events like severe salinity intrusion and coastal inundation. So the government has been putting greater emphasis on expanding coastal afforestation programs, and construction of coastal embankments and cyclone centres. At the same, we are also paying special attention to the conservation of the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. Our coastal green belt initiatives involve mangrove plantation along nearly 9000 km of shoreline. Recently, in celebration of the birth centenary of the father of the nation,we have planted ten million trees across the country during July-October 2020 as a part of achieving 25% forest coverage by 2030. We have integrated Ecosystem based adaptation in Bangladesh Environment Policy 2018 not only to augment ecosystem-based approaches in the greater policy regime but to move ahead with the vision ofliving in harmony with nature.
In implementing coastal afforestation programs, we tried to adopt ecosystem based approach taking in to account the importance of meeting the needs of the local community while maintaining the natural resource base in a sustainable manner.The significant adaptation response measurewe used is the development and implementation of FFF (Forest-Fish-Fruit) Model, a mound-ditch model that comprises short and long term resource and income generation, as well as livelihood diversification. This model is used in barren lands, located within and around coastal mangrove forests. By using a combination of protective and productive vegetation in mound and fish cultivation in ditch land structures, the FFF model has prevented land encroachment and ensured water security through rain water harvesting in ditches. It offers multiple livelihood opportunities such as horticulture and fish cultivation, irrigation for crops, and conversion of barren land into productive land. This model is also replicable to other geographic areas of the country. We have also extensively practised floating agriculture in inundated areas due to long duration flooding and water logging across the country.
We also feel that our development activities particularly infrastructure development should considermutually reinforcing relationship between infrastructure development and natural ecosystems. With the services provided by nature being pressured both by development activities and the physical impacts of climate change, taking on an integrated view of countries’ infrastructure systemsand ecosystem servicescan greatly help to achieve win-win outcomes.So by integrating the use of nature-based solutions within infrastructure planning, the countries can simultaneously reduce the losses due to natural disasters, adapt with and mitigate the long-term impacts of climate change, and enhance livelihood opportunities for nature dependent communities.
However, enhancing the mobilization of resources from all sources, domestic and international, public and private is fundamental not only to the achievement of climate goals with ecosystem based approaches, but to poverty alleviation, livelihoods and sustainable development as a whole.
I again convey my sincere thanks and gratitude to Excellency Mr. Hugh Hilton Todd and your able team for organizing this successful event.I thank you all.