COP 26: Bangladesh wants climate finance and protection of human rights

The climate crisis is deepening for the enjoyment and comfort of a handful of people. Whose toll is to be paid to innumerable poor people. New health risks such as Covid-19, migration, food and water supplies, livelihood crises, and cultural evolution are all the result of climate change.

As climate change and global warming increase, the protection of human rights as a whole will become more difficult. Therefore, at the upcoming UN COP 26 conference on climate change, Bangladesh will demand funding for the protection of human rights and tackling climate loss.

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Syeda Muna Tasneem, Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said this in digital dialogue with young climate activists under the Global Climate Blockade Program. Speaking on the preparations for the COP-26 conference held in Glasgow, the UK on Friday (March 19th) night as the guest of honor for a dialogue jointly organized by the Protiki Jubo Sangshad, Coastal Youth Action Hub, and Youthnet for Climate Justice.

Expressing solidarity with the youth movement for Fridays, she also lauded the youth awareness activities of the youth of Bangladesh in realizing climate justice and assured all possible cooperation from the High Commission. The High Commissioner noted that Bangladesh needs thousands of leaders like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of our nation, and Greta Thunberg. The event was co-organized by the British Council’s PROKAS (Promoting Knowledge for Accountable Systems) program, which is a UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) funded program designed to support the government and civil society initiatives to improve transparency and accountability in Bangladesh.

Referring to the newly formed CVF High Commissioner / Ambassadors Forum in London, the High Commissioner said that Bangladesh as CVF Presidency is working closely with the UK as COP 26 Presidency to build a more stable and prosperous future for 1.2 million vulnerable people in CVF member countries. He hopes to build greater cooperation and connectivity through the Commonwealth and Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

She said Bangladesh will take a strong stand on loss and damage in the COP 26 conference. It will also demand the appointment of a special envoy to the United Nations on human rights violations in climate change. In addition, the United Nations must declare Climate Tolerance and Justice Day. Besides, the issue of technology transfer will also be important in climate mitigation. Mentioning that 75% of the youth in Bangladesh know about climate, the High Commissioner said that the climate movement of the youth is logical because they have to live in the next world.

Convener of Climate Parliament Bangladesh Nahim Razzak MP was present as the chief guest in the dialogue presided over by Kazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmed. Sohanur Rahman, Executive Chief of Pratik Youth Parliament, presented the keynote address on youth participation to ensure proper use of climate activities and funding. Shakila Islam, the chief coordinator of Youthnet for Climate Justice, spoke on the occasion. SM Munjurul Hannan Khan, Cox’s Bazar Development Authority Chairman Lt. Colonel (Retd.) Forkan Ahmed, Barisal Deputy Commissioner Jasim Uddin Haider, Feni Deputy Commissioner Md. Wahiduzzaman, British Council PROKAS program manager Abul Bashar and others.

Syeda Muna Tasneem, Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said that although the responsibility for carbon emissions was negligible, Bangladesh remained one of the worst-affected countries. There are limitations to climate adaptation. However, with the strong political commitment and wise leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the courage and strength of her people, Bangladesh has made significant progress in both community-based disaster management and adaptation. Floating seedbeds, salt-tolerant rice varieties are being admired all over the world.

The younger generation has to raise its voice in front of the climate movement because they have to live in the world to come. Young people have to raise the question, why should we be treated unfairly? Why do we lose our livelihood due to the negligence of the world community? Effective steps need to be taken to save this planet, including countries that are under threat from climate change. Everyone now needs to work together with special civil society, the youth community, women and people with disabilities to address the negative effects of climate change. He welcomed the Coastal Youth Action Hub initiative, saying the coastal areas of Bangladesh are very risky.

Syeda Muna Tasneem said, “Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been playing a leading role in environmental protection not only in Bangladesh but also in various forums around the world.” Bangladesh Parliament has declared climate change as a planetary emergency. Without waiting for anyone’s help to build climate tolerance, the Prime Minister is the first LDC to secure Bangladesh’s own ৪ 400 million Climate Change Trust Fund, provide a budget of Tk 29,000 to 27 ministries and formulate a Delta Plan-2100, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the Father of the Nation On the occasion of Rahman’s birth centenary, Mujib announced the Decade of Planetary Prosperity (2020-30) and the Action Plan. Bangladesh will not raise its hand to anyone, it will live with its head held high. The youth society will continue to raise its head.

Convener of Climate Parliament Bangladesh Nahim Razzak MP, the chief guest of the dialogue, said, “We have not been able to go far in terms of climate protection in the field of development.” Despite having policies and laws, many things are not being implemented at the grassroots level which is really unfortunate. There is a solution to every problem. Solutions need to be integrated. In this case, the activism of the youth is very important. Rapid action needs to be taken to protect climate change and the environment. This requires a change in human behavior and the proper implementation of the law.

We can take various initiatives to protect the climate. In addition to reducing energy wastage and plastics, green business entrepreneurs and the renewable energy sector need to be encouraged. Young people can play an important role in joint monitoring and implementation. He noted that people in his constituency were being displaced by the effects of climate change. The government is implementing Guchhgram initiative for their rehabilitation. He drew the attention of the Bangladesh High Commission in London to increase the participation of the youth in the upcoming UN Climate Conference COP-26 and the Youth Conference. In the dialogue, Nahim inaugurated a youth-led project in collaboration with the British Council to strengthen the Coastal Youth Action Hub and pledged joint action in conducting policy consultations through the Climate Parliament.

PKSF Chairman expressed his excitement over the process of green climate fund. Kazi Khaliquzzaman Ahmed said that the fund was set up not to give money. While there is a lot of money to be received from the Green Climate Fund, Bangladesh has received only 100 million USD in grants and 250 million in loans. But there was no talk of debt in climate finance. It was said that the new grant would be given to the government officially out of the development fund. But none of this is being accepted. Even if we submit good projects, they raise useless questions, delaying us by hiring consultants and complicating the process. They do not keep their promises. They haven’t adequate money in their fund. We don’t spend even 10 percent of what we spend ourselves. So we have to prepare ourselves to match the tune in the international movement. Young people can play an important role in bringing accountability to the local implementation of climate projects.

He called for the rehabilitation of refugees due to climate change in accordance with the Cancun Framework, as well as the importance of adaptation funds to deal with loss and damage.

Climate expert SM Munjurul Hannan Khan said initiatives should be taken to enhance the skills and knowledge of the youth community in adaptation and mitigation in the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement in COP-26. He thinks the COP conference could play a role in approving clear guidelines for young people to invest in green climate fund activities.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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