State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam on Tuesday said Bangladesh firmly believes that climate change is a security issue, and it must be discussed at a regular interval at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
“Strict implementation of Paris Agreement is necessary to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said adding that this is high time for the major emitters to meet the mitigations target swiftly.
He also said the issue of loss and damage must be addressed with utmost importance.
Speaking at a hybrid seminar titled “Climate Diplomacy: Constraints and Choices for Bangladesh” as chief guest, Alam noted that Bangladesh has been a significant player in global climate diplomacy.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the seminar at its auditorium.
During the presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum, Alam said, Bangladesh emerged as a legitimate voice in the climate change negotiations under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The country has launched the “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan” with the aim to put her on a journey from climate vulnerability to resilience to climate prosperity, the State Minister said.
“It is indeed one of the landmark policy guidelines for climate vulnerable countries,” he said.
Professor Saleemul Huq , Director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), said they need to understand and take into account that the UN-backed COP, which only takes place once a year, is no longer the only place where climate diplomacy takes place.
He said every diplomat in Bangladesh missions across the world now needs to make climate change as a core issue of bilateral discussion.
BIISS Chairman Kazi Imtiaz Hossain said climate diplomacy has become a necessity due to climate change and ensuing threats.
Like many other countries Bangladesh is also enhancing effort in this field, he said.
The government is now involving not only ministries, but also its different wings for promoting greater coordination, said Hossain, also a former ambassador.
For example, he said, at national levels, the 8th Five Year Plan, the Perspective Plan to 2040, and the BDP 2100—all incorporate addressing climate change issues as a key priority.
Acting Director General, BIISS Colonel M A Saadi, said that both human actions and inactions are creating planetary crises like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
He said Bangladesh, as one of the most climate vulnerable countries, is actively pursuing the causes of environmental justice in international forums.
Moreover, he said, the country has led the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and has been an exemplary model by translating its vulnerability into resilience through different climate actions and diplomatic efforts.
The fundamental bases of Bangladesh’s climate diplomacy are: adhering to multilateralism in climate policy, accelerating domestic action and raising global ambition, and enhancing international climate cooperation through advocacy and outreach, Saadi added.
The working session of the seminar was chaired by former Foreign Secretary Shamsher M. Chowdhury, BB.
Professor Mizan R Khan, Deputy Director, ICCCAD, Arif M. Faisal, Program Specialist (Nature, Climate and Energy), UNDP Bangladesh, Mirza Shawkat Ali, Director, Climate Change and International Convention, Department of Environment and Dr. Sufia Khanom, Senior Research Fellow, BIISS, spoke.
Senior officials from different ministries of government, ambassadors and high commissioners, former diplomats, senior military officials, academia, researchers, teachers and students from different universities, representatives from different international organizations, participated in the discussion.