HPM Sheikh Hasina urged UNESCO to put more emphasis on climate education

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Published on November 12, 2021
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged UNESCO to put more emphasis on climate-related topics in education programmes in the wake of global warming.

She also called for more technical support from the agency of the United Nations to raise awareness about the challenges created by climate change.

“Climate change is a life-threatening reality not only for Bangladesh but also for many other countries of the world,” the prime minister said at the 41st general conference of UNESCO in Paris on Thursday.

Noting that Bangladesh has cancelled 10 coal-based power plants worth $12 billion of foreign investments, Hasina said, “As a leading voice for climate-vulnerable countries, we have embarked on ambitious climate commitments.”

“And we hope the countries, which are much more responsible for global warming, will fulfil their commitments to address climate change impacts.”

“We urge UNESCO to put greater emphasis on climate education and support member states to provide technical assistance to raise greater awareness and sensitivities to climate challenges.”

Hasina called for urgent scientific research and knowledge because a faster pace of global warming has affected the planet’s ocean environment.

As a coastal and a frontline country within the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Bangladesh has initiated measures for a nature-based solution, Hasina said as she called for a stronger presence of IOC in the region.

She thanked UNESCO for launching the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Prize for the Creative Economy and celebrating the birth centenary of the independence leader.

She described UNESCO as a “true friend” of Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s Feb 21 Martyrs Day, marking the sacrifices for establishing Bangla as the state language, was recognised as the International Mother Language Day. UNESCO also added Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March speech of 1971 to the Memory of the World Register.

The prime minister said Bangabandhu embodies the ethos of peace, harmony and social coherence. In his maiden speech in 1974 during the 29th UNGA, he declared: “Peace is imperative for the survival of humanity. It represents the deepest aspirations of men and women throughout the world.”

“This has been the guiding principle of our peace-centric foreign policy,” Hasina said.

“We are one of the largest troops and police-contributing country in UN peacekeeping operations.”

“The success of UNESCO largely depends on its impact in improving lives of our peoples. As we are passing through a difficult time, the need for a strong, dynamic, innovative multilateral organisation is felt more than ever before. Bangladesh is ready to work closely with UNESCO in its endeavour to construct the defences of peace.”

Describing her government’s efforts in developing the education sector, she said the coronavirus pandemic has undermined the achievements.

According to UNESCO, close to half of the world’s students are affected by partial or full school closures. “Online education evolved as a “new normal” during the pandemic. Yet, it also exposed a new divide,” Hasina said.

The advanced countries could swiftly move to online platforms. But the developing and least developed countries were pushed further behind due to a lack of resources and technologies.

“This has jeopardised our decades of gains in school enrolment, literacy rate and learning of youth and adult,” Hasina said as she called for steps to declare remote learning and online education as a global public good and partnership and resources to ensure online learning in the poorer nations.