Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
H.E. the UN Secretary-General,
H.E. the President of the UNGA,
Heads of State and Government,
Chair of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalamu Alaikum, and good afternoon.
I would like to thank the Chair of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters for convening this important session aimed at raising global awareness for a resilient and sustainable post-covid-19 world by combating water and disaster challenges.
We are confronting the gravest global health crisis of our times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The enormous economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic has slowed down the progress for sustainable development. The growing scarcity of clean drinking water, outbreak of diseases like cholera, typhoid etc. reminds us of crucial need of water for peace and development. To mitigate the water-related disasters, we have a shared responsibility to create stronger and inclusive international cooperation.
Bangladesh is the lower-most riparian country in South Asia, standing at the confluence of three mighty rivers the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. At present, Bangladesh faces two-prong water-related problems – surplus and shortage of water. During monsoon 90% water enters into Bangladesh from catchments beyond our border inundating our localities. During dry season, drought-like situation prevails across the country. Moreover, scarcity of safe drinking water is an emerging problem in the coastal areas due to salinity intrusion.
We faced several climatic disasters, including the Super Cyclone “Amphan” and monsoon flood that affected about 6 million people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the cyclone “Yaas” inundated 27 sub-districts last month causing damage to crop, fisheries and infrastructure.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bangladesh is also one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. Floods, tidal surges, cyclones, and river erosion are now more frequent. To address these challenges, Bangladesh has been taking disaster risk reduction to the next level. Under the purview of the Disaster Management Act 2012, Standing Orders on Disaster 2019 have been included for ensuring “whole of society approach”. Furthermore, Bangladesh has revised the National Plan for Disaster Management for the period of 2021 to 2025 in alignment with the Sendai Framework. Community Based Disaster Preparedness Model has been developed to ensure inclusive bottom-up approach to disaster management system in the country.
We have formulated Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 with the vision of ‘achieving safe, climate resilient and prosperous Bangladesh delta’. We have also prepared “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan” for implementing renewable energy and climate resilience projects.
Our government has taken initiatives to build 885 thousand disaster resilient houses for the landless, homeless and displaced families across the country. We have built 16.4 kilometres of sea dykes, 12,000 cyclone shelters and 2 hundred thousand hectares of coastal plantation. Strengthening and increasing height of around 5,700 kilometres of coastal embankment is going on.
The government is in the process to construct super dykes along the coastal belt to protect millions people from the impact of sea level rise, salinity and tidal surges. We are also giving utmost importance in greenbelt development. We are planting thirty million saplings this year on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
As the current Chair of the 48-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum, Bangladesh’s key focus is on to uphold the interests of the climate vulnerable countries and promote locally-led adaptation solutions. We are working to transform from climate vulnerability to climate resilience to climate prosperity.
I would like to propose some points for consideration by the international community:
- We need to take comprehensive, result oriented, focused and adaptive global approach for water security;
- It is important to raise political awareness, and to share good practices, knowledge, and experiences;
- There should be synergies on water management, and water policies and use among the nations of upper and lower basins;
- We should focus on implementation of the Sendai Framework, the SDGs, and the Paris Agreement; and
Finally, we need to mobilise financial resources for the vulnerable countries to ensure their adequate access to water.
Thank you all.