Start preparing for COP 29

Speakers said there can be no compromise with Bangladesh’s climate change adaptation.

Guests at a roundtable co-organised by Oxfam in Bangladesh and Prothom Alo was held at the Prothom Alo office in Karwan Bazar of the capital on Sunday morning.Prothom Alo

Bangladesh has no alternative to adaptation or adopting disaster preparedness to fight climate change. Besides, the collection of funds to face the damages of climate change has to be continued as well.

These observations were made by speakers at a roundtable titled ‘COP 28: Experience, Results and the Way Forward’. The roundtable, co-organised by Oxfam in Bangladesh and Prothom Alo was held at the Prothom Alo office in Karwan Bazar of the capital on Sunday morning.

Discussants believe that Bangladesh is struggling with the proper management of its natural resources like the hills, forests and rivers. Plus, taking up unnecessary and unplanned development projects is ushering in disasters.

So, there should be proper utilisation and management of our natural resources alongside adaptation to deal with climate change. They also believe if Bangladesh is to do well in COP 29 alongside collecting compensation, we have to prepare from right now.

United Nations’ global climate-related convention, the Conference of Parties or COP 28 was held in the United Arab Emirates last December. And COP 29 will be held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku next November. The agenda of COP 29 convention will come out before that.

Clockwise from top left: Ainun Nishat, Shamim Haider Patwari, Mirza Shawkat Ali, Mahbuba Nasreen

Emeritus professor at BRAC University, Ainun Nishat believes that if we can prepare according to the agenda, it will be of use to Bangladesh. There can be no compromise with Bangladesh’s adaptation (disaster preparedness) to face climate change, he reckons.

Ainun Nishat said that eight subjects like adaptation, capability, technology, compensation and monitoring needs to be focused on to make the next COP conference fruitful for Bangladesh.

He also believes while different countries around the world have taken preparation for a hundred years to face climate change, Bangladesh lacks in that. The civic society has to increase observation and evaluation on this matter even further, added Ainun Nishat.

Mentioning that there are many good practices in the country to deal with climate change, former parliament member Shamim Haider Patwari said, “There needs to be more such good practices. So that we can show the capability that we’ll be able to spend the money if we are given the fund.”

Director (climate change) at the department of climate change, Mirza Shawkat Ali pointed out that the financial aid Bangladesh is receiving because of climate change is nothing compared to the requirement.  

He said, “You might have noticed that we don’t receive compensation that much from the developed countries, responsible for climate change.”

“If you ask what we got in comparison to our neighbouring countries, Bangladesh is among the top two to three countries in south and south-eastern Asia. The whole procedure is different in the sense that they will provide technical support but no assistance with major investment.”

Mirza Shawkat Ali added that the developed countries cannot be compelled to pay the compensation. So, the result of going to negotiate is feeble decisions.

Mentioning that the loss and damage fund, formed to fight climate change will take yet more time to be implemented, Mirza Shawkat Ali said that it may take one to two more years to get funds from there.

A project has been taken to be able to acquire that fund so that Bangladesh can be at the front when it comes to receiving funds, he added.

Pro vice-chancellor of Bangladesh Open University, professor Mahbuba Nasreen emphasised on having insurances to deal with the damages of climate change.

She said that when there are floods and cyclones in Bangladesh, the farmers become broke. Those who are faced with such risk of climate change have to be brought under the coverage of insurance. The damage can be reduced then.

Guests at a roundtable co-organised by Oxfam in Bangladesh and Prothom Alo was held at the Prothom Alo office in Karwan Bazar of the capital on Sunday morning.
Prothom Alo

Head of Climate Justice and Natural Resources Rights division at Oxfam in Bangladesh, Mohammad Emran Hasan believes there’s no alternative to end the use of fossil fuel in the face of climate change.

He said that the developed countries are using fossil fuel to advance their economy. And countries like Bangladesh have to suffer the consequences of the change it causes to the climate. However, he mentioned that there has been no success in this regard from COP 28.

Author and climate researcher Gawher Nayeem Wahra questioned the preparation of those who goes to the climate conference to claim compensation on behalf of the government. He believes it’s essential to have transparency to receive compensation.

Gawhar Nayeem Wahra blamed the unplanned development on government’s part for floods and destruction of environment in Bandarban and Sylhet regions. He said, “In addition to climate change, we are also failing to manage our natural resources properly.”

Former general secretary of the hill women’s federation and human rights activist Ilira Dewan said that the people living on the hill tracts don’t know what COP is. But, they know that they have to face drought and the crisis of food or water there every year.

Pointing out that protecting the hills, boulders and springs is a bigger issue than managing funds, Ilira Dewan said that you don’t need funds to stop hill cutting. Sources of water are being cut off by extracting stones from there. How do we protect the environment where the hills are being destroyed?

Executive director of Bindu Women Development Organisation, Jannatul Mouwa said that women are major victim of climate change. Women in Satkhira region suffer from various uterine complications due to salinity.

Marginalised people of the country are the main victims of climate change, said Sharif Jamil, the member secretary of environment protection organisation Dhoritri Rokhhay Amra (DHORA).  Many agricultural products are vanishing away because of climate change. This picture should be presented at home and abroad, he added.

Among others chief executive of Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) Shamsuddoha, climate advocate of BHRRC Md Raju Ahmed, head of Climate Action at Friendship Bangladesh Kazi Emdadul Haque,  campaign and policy Coordinator of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Bareesh Hasan Chowdhury, executive director of Shariatpur Development Society (SDS) Rabeya Begum, assistant professor at the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies  of Dhaka University Bivuti Sikder, deputy director of Friendship Tanzina Sharmin, head of CODEC Climate Justice Wing Hasibur Rahman, public health researcher Zahid Hossain Khan and YouthNet for Climate Justice’s Sohanur Rahman also spoke at the time.

The roundtable was moderated by Prothom Alo assistant editor Firoz Choudhury.

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