Bangladesh is going to be a major victim of sea level rise. The sea level rise, as projected by IPCC, could potentially result in the displacement of 25 million to 30 million people. This would be a major destabilising factor not only for our country but for the wider region with significant security implications.
This observation was made by Shafqat Munir from Bangladesh, while speaking at a special virtual session of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) hosted on 19 February this year.
Due to the pandemic, the MCS conference was hosted digitally this year.
The MSC is the world's leading forum for debates on international security policy. It offers a platform for diplomatic initiatives and approaches to counter the most pressing security challenges in the world.
President Joe Biden participated in the conference making him the first US president to speak at the forum since its inception. He was also joined by the president of France, the federal chancellor of Germany, presidents of the European Council and European Commission, Bill Gates, Director General of WHO, NATO secretary general, the UN secretary general and other distinguished dignitaries.
One of the main features of this conference included the participation of Munich Young Leaders’ in asking these distinguished dignitaries questions regarding pressing security issues.
Shafqat Munir, research fellow at Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and head of Bangladesh Centre for Terrorism (BCTR), was selected to ask a question to Special US Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. In his question he talked about the threat of rising sea-levels on the coast of Bangladesh and how this would cause the displacement of nearly 30 million people, leading to broader security impacts.
John Kerry acknowledged the threat of the issue and echoed the sentiments of Shafqat Munir. He highlighted the risks from environmental change faced by Bangladesh and added that stakeholder nations, such as Bangladesh, need to be come to developed nations’ climate conferences and bring up their concerns.
The special envoy went on to invite Bangladesh to attend the US climate summit, which is to be held on 22 of April in Washington DC, so that representatives from the nation can voice their concerns directly. He added that they would not be able to host everyone but his invitation to Bangladesh, amongst others, clearly shows the US commitment and emphasis on working with the nation for climate security.
Shafqat Munir is the first Munich Young Leader from Bangladesh. Munich Young Leaders is a unique congregation of emerging thought leaders, security analysts and scholars from around the world. He was a part of the Munich Young Leaders class of 2017.
Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) has played a significant role in raising Bangladesh’s voice in the international climate security discourse. BIPSS has worked extensively on climate security at all international forums and has consistently published on the subject.