Poorer nations continue to experience the effects of climate change despite not being the primary source of global pollution.
Keeping that in mind, speakers at a recent dialogue stressed the need for policymakers, the media and civil society to work together to limit the growth of pollution and to raise awareness of the global climate change crisis for a better tomorrow.
They also emphasized the need for climate justice, whereby the role of wealthier nations in emitting greenhouse gasses is acknowledged and steps are taken to enable developing nations to cope with the impacts of climate change.
Partnership with communities, adequate investment in raising awareness, and grassroots capacity building and sharing learnings are crucial to realizing climate justice, they said while speaking at a dialogue titled ‘Impacts of Climate Change in Global Landscape and ActionAid’s Call for Justice’, organized jointly by ActionAid Bangladesh and Dhaka Tribune at a city hotel on December 2.
Climate activists and development specialists from around the world participated in the conversation moderated by Dhaka Tribune editor Zafar Sobhan.
ActionAid International Interim Secretary General Arthur Larok, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir, ActionAid USA Executive Director Niranjali Amerasinghe, ActionAid India Executive Director Sandeep Chachra, ActionAid Italy Secretary General Marco De Ponte, ActionAid Denmark Secretary General Tim Whyte, ActionAid International’s Global Lead on Climate Justice Teresa Anderson, ActionAid International’s Head of Campaigns and Communications Serena Maher, ActionAid International Director of Asia and Humanitarian Response Razmi Farook, Global Resilience Advisor at ActionAid’s International Humanitarian Action and Resilience Team (IHART) Tanjir Hossain, Manager of Resilience and Climate Justice at ActionAid Bangladesh Mohammad Mahmodul Hasan and Manager of Young People Programme at ActionAid Bangladesh Nazmul Ahsan shared their views on climate change, challenges and best practices, the need for proper investment, climate justice and the way forward.
“Climate change is so immediate that it doesn’t really matter what other crises we are facing. We can never really put it on the back burner, it is something which has to be ever present in the policymaking agenda,” said Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan.
He stressed the need to create awareness around climate change in the country where all relevant stakeholders can rally together to address climate change.
Arthur Larok, interim secretary general at ActionAid International, highlighted the need to extrapolate the idea of justice to ensure that those that are least responsible and most affected by the adverse impacts of climate change really receive justice.Citing fossil fuels and industrialized agriculture as core reasons behind global emissions, Teresa Anderson, global lead on climate justice at ActionAid International, said it is necessary to accelerate the shift in investment to climate-friendly approaches.
Sandeep Chachra, executive director of ActionAid India, said the focus of climate change related work must be on initiatives on bringing people who perpetrate injustice to book, but to also to move from retributive to reformative justice.
Niranjali Amerasinghe, executive director of ActionAid USA, highlighted the obligation of countries responsible for climate change effects to provide finance and other support for developing and poorer nations.
Referring to a major breakthrough of COP27, the global fund for loss and damage, Global Lead on Climate Justice at ActionAid International Teresa Anderson said the climate activists should now focus on mechanisms to ensure that the money reaches the communities on the ground in coming years.
Marco De Ponte, secretary general of ActionAid Italy, highlighted the need for countries to frame things in terms of climate justice, and the need to engage the youth to come up with solutions.
Serena Maher, head of campaigns and communications at ActionAid International, emphasized the need for countries to find impactful solutions collectively.
Razmi Farook, director of Asia and Humanitarian Response, ActionAid International, said countries need to work together to push for climate change agendas not just in their own individual domains, but also in collective domains as well.
Sharing examples of restrictions on activists and civil societies in all countries around the world, Tim Whyte, secretary general of ActionAid Denmark said: “We can’t see the progress that we need without having a free and active civil society activist movement pushing politicians to be their better selves.”
Tanjir Hossain, global resilience advisor at ActionAid’s IHART said the battle over the next few years should be to ensure that loss and damage funding is separate – and in addition to – current development assistance.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said women have been stalwarts of the community, protecting the environment and other resources. The real narrative is important; greenwashing is taking away the power of people to really investigate into the crisis.
Mohammad Mahmodul Hasan, manager of resilience and climate justice at ActionAid Bangladesh, said the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) promotes the transfer of environmentally sound technologies at the request of developing countries, but getting assistance from CTCN is complex and lengthy. He said the process needs to be simplified so that excluded and marginalized communities can benefit from it.
Nazmul Ahsan, manager at ActionAid Bangladesh’s Young People Program, said stakeholders and campaigners need to build up young people — not just activism but also skills and capacity – so that they can become leaders and deliver the results being sought.