Take responsibility for climate migrants: Bangladesh PM

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bangladesh PM calls upon global community as she joins COP25 summit in Madrid.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday asked the global community to take the responsibility for climate migrants as they would be displaced for no fault of their own.

“As our people will be displaced for no fault of ours...we expect the international community to shoulder the responsibility of accommodating them and providing them with livelihood,” she said.

The PM was addressing a general roundtable discussion at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) at Feria de Madrid here, reports UNB.

Hasina said all funds to fight climate change must be replenished as per agreement, including the $100 billion annual contribution.

She said the Paris Agreement recognises the special circumstances and needs of LDCs and “Particularly Vulnerable Countries” based on the principle of the “common but differentiated responsibility”, and this recognition must be adhered to in every delivery mechanism of the climate finance.
The premier warned that there was a limit to resilience and adaptation. “We simply have to stop the increase of global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius more than the pre-industrial level.

Hasina joined the opening session of COP25, known as the UN Climate Change Conference, reports BSS.

The two-week conference is being held in the Spanish capital under the presidency of Chile and with logistical support from Spain.

Speaking at the roundtable discussion, Hasina said Bangladesh is a firm believer of collective efforts and understanding to fight climate change, and UN is the most appropriate platform.

She said from now on the principle of “Loss and Damage” must feature prominently in all negotiations and the Warsaw International Mechanism must be given a much stronger mandate to explore financing losses and damages through its review.

EXISTENTIAL THREAT
The PM said climate change has now become an existential threat for climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh. “We are fighting the battle on two fronts. First, mitigation measures to reduce and eventually reach zero emission in future. Second, adaptation measures in areas where irreparable damage has been done.”

Hasina said Bangladesh, the largest delta in the world, is the worst-affected country by adverse impacts of climate change. “Up to 2050 from now, our annual GDP loss will be 2 percent and at this rate by 2100, the loss will be a staggering 9 percent.”

She said when people would become vulnerable and left with no choice to survive, they would resort to any action endangering state, regional and global security. “Their weakness and vulnerability make them easy prey for threats like radicalisation and we are already experiencing its devastating effects all over the world.”

Mentioning that Bangladesh is the first LDC to establish a Climate Change Trust Fund, the PM said Bangladesh has so far spent more than $415 million from its own resources for mitigation and adaptation purposes. “We are set to spend as much as $10 billion to make the country less vulnerable to natural disasters.”

She said the presence of 1.1 million Rohingyas, who fled persecution in Myanmar, in Bangladesh has caused an environmental and social havoc in Cox’s Bazar, an environmentally critical area, with the loss of forest, hills, biodiversity and livelihood of locals.

‘ADDRESS MIGRANTS’ NEEDS’
Speaking at another event at Feria de Madrid, Hasina yesterday urged the international community to initiate discussions on creation of an appropriate framework to address the needs of the people who became displaced due to climate change.

“Relocation and protection of displaced persons need due focus in global discourse to ensure their protection. We need to commence discussions on creation of an appropriate framework to address the needs of people displaced due to climate change,” she told an event titled “Action for Survival: Vulnerable Nations COP25 Leaders’ Summit”.

The PM urged all nations to join their hands to combat climate change to secure the children’s future.

“We are possibly confronting the gravest global challenge of our time…. Our children will not forgive us if we fail to ensure their future. Every moment, the cost of our inaction is devastating every living person on earth. The time to act is now.”

Pointing at the leaders of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), Hasina said, “We now have a situation where the most vulnerable countries, which deserve the highest level of priority, are failing to access whatever support that is being realised.”

She said major emitters show extreme reluctance on mitigation, which may wreck the international climate regime and put the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh at peril. “Hence, we shouldn’t hesitate to demand accountability for inaction.”

“We are also looking towards the 2020 Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands to strengthen our adaptation efforts,” she said.

She said the vulnerable countries suffer the most due to their limited capacity to cope with and specific geographical features. “We are bearing the brunt of the damage though we made negligible or no contribution to the menace. This constitutes a serious injustice and must be acknowledged by the global community.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria, among others, spoke at the event.

‘KEEP UP PRESSURE ON MYANMAR’
Meanwhile, Hasina yesterday renewed her call to the world community, including the European countries, to keep up pressure on Myanmar so that it takes more than one million Rohingyas back.

She made the appeal during her meetings with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Council President Charles Michel at Feria de Madrid on the sidelines of the COP25.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen briefed reporters after the two meetings.

The PM said Rohingyas were cutting down trees in the hilly areas for making their shelters. She said the government was trying to relocate the Rohingyas to Bhashan Char temporarily after preparing good facilities for them to give them a risk-free shelter.

Hasina said Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi would be in The Hague next week to attend the hearing of the International Court of Justice. “You should put some pressure on Myanmar and continue it,” she added.

During the meeting with the European Council president, Hasina said Bangladesh was in continuous dialogue with Myanmar. “But the problem is the Rohingyas won’t go back unless they get the assurance of having Myanmar citizenship.”

The premier said the Rohingyas felled all the tress around their living places. “You can help us solve the Rohingya problem,” she told Charles Michel.

The Bangladesh foreign minister said the PM agreed to take over the presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum as President of Marshal Islands Hilda C Heine during the climate conference proposed her name for taking the responsibility.

Hasina said she would take over if other leaders of the member countries agreed on the proposal.

During the meeting with her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, the PM invited him to attend the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman next year. Mark accepted the invitation.

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