Muniruzzaman also spoke about the risk Bangladesh faces as a frontline state in the face of climate change induced insecurity.
“According to estimates, sea-level rise will likely inundate 20 per cent of Bangladesh landmass and trigger a climate refugee population of 25 to 30 million people,” he said adding that it will not only be a national security threat but will also impact international security.
Replying to a question by the moderator Ayesha Kabir on his assessment on Bangladesh’s climate change vulnerability, Muniruzzaman said, “All impacts of climate change can be felt currently in Bangladesh. We are at a ground zero climate security scenario now.”
Replying to a separate question, Muniruzzaman shared his optimism that Bangladesh could leverage its position to help solve the crisis.
He gave an example of BIPSS research fellow Shafqat Munir where he engaged in dialogue with special US presidential envoy on climate John Kerry at the special edition of the Munich Security Conference recently.
Munir highlighted the impacts of climate change and the effects of sea level rise in Bangladesh. In his reply, special envoy Kerry acknowledged the nation’s climate vulnerability and invited Bangladesh to attend the US hosted climate summit in Washington DC to voice their concerns directly.
Ayesha Kabir also suggested other necessary initiatives like legislative actions and outreaching campaigns to make people more aware about the effects of climate change.
Participants and dignitaries were engaged in dialogue and a number of key issues were raised such as the accountability of major polluters, vulnerability of low-lying island states and the role of public and private partnerships.
Participants also expressed concerns regarding whether the threat from climate change has increased due to the current state of globalisation. They inquired if the international community is prepared to come with sustainable policies to confront climate change related security issues.
The participants also emphasised whether alternative solutions were viable or was mitigation the only answer.
BIPSS has been working for over a decade on climate security and has consistently published on the subject.