Our children will not forgive us: HPM Sheikh Hasina

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Published on December 2, 2019
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said “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.”

Sheikh Hasina spoke on “action for survival” as the leader of one of the most vulnerable nations at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP25, in Madrid on Monday.

She called for action to stave off climate threats to create a world liveable for the future generation.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum, or CVF, and the Vulnerable 20 Group are great examples of South-South and Triangular cooperation and should build further on the current accomplishments, said Sheikh Hasina.

Climate change is a stark reality for the world which has now caused irreversible damage to the human life and environment, ecology and natural resources, said Hasina.

“Since the Earth Summit in 1992, we have not been able to secure much progress in the reduction of greenhouse gases, their emission is still on the rise. This trend is now unsustainable for the Earth,” the prime minister said.

The vulnerable countries suffer the most due to their limited capacities to cope with climate threats and specific geographical features, she said.

“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,” said Hasina.

The global climate landscape has changed considerably since the Forum first met in November 2009 in Malé. Unfortunately, the progress under the UNFCCC process is “very slow and largely inadequate”, said Hasina.

“There is still hardly any move to support nationally determined adaption initiatives undertaken especially by our vulnerable countries. Different funds created for different purposes lack from availability of the required capital. Often direct and easy access to funds and technology along with conditions and criteria seem to favour mostly the countries that already have acquired greater capacities.”

Now there is a situation where the most vulnerable countries, which deserve the highest level of priority, are failing to access whatever support that is being realised, the prime minister said.

“The creation of a new CVF and V20 Trust Fund and possibility of having a new special rapporteur on climate change would be a great success.”

More than 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar have taken refuge in Bangladesh wreaking a havoc on the environment, said Hasina. “We already have the firsthand experience of the worst kind of environmental calamity.”

“We must therefore establish a set of criteria to prioritise vulnerable countries based on their risks, impacts and lack of coping capacities. We also want to keep the climate change support and the regular development finance strictly separate,” said Hasina.

On mitigation, the world sees extreme reluctance on part of major emitters, said Hasina. “This may wreck the international climate regime and put our countries at the risk of peril. Hence, we should not hesitate to demand accountability for inaction,” she said.

It is widely accepted that the gravest effect of climate change may be on human migration, according to Hasina.

“Extreme weather events are already displacing many more people than violent conflicts. Slow-onset events like sea-level rise and desertification get even lower global focus. We must work towards correcting this imbalance,” she said.

“We must appreciate that migration could be an effective adaptation strategy, as we focus on enhancing adaptation capacities of affected communities. Hence, relocation and protection of displaced persons need due focus in global discourse to ensure their protection. We need to commence discussion on the creation of an appropriate framework to address the needs of people displaced due to climate change.”