Among Bangladesh’s numerous achievements over the past decade and a half or so, the strides made with respect to climate change have arguably been the most impressive.
It is always important to remember that Bangladesh remains one of the nations most susceptible to the effects of climate change without having any role to play in causing this climate crisis that is now an existential threat for so many nations. The blame lies solely on rich, industrialized nations — and that continues to be the case.
It is with that in mind that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s words where she urged Bangladesh’s international partners to support Bangladesh in implementation of its multi-billion dollar national plan on adaptation to climate change must be heeded.
Bangladesh’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for 2023-2050 will require a total of $230 billion for its execution and it is a moral obligation for richer nations, those with significant carbon footprints who have caused the climate crisis, to offer their monetary assistance, not just to Bangladesh but all climate-vulnerable nations who are facing calamitous repercussions through no fault of their own.
The fact that Bangladesh spends about 6-7% of its GDP on climate mitigation and adaptation, and has so far implemented 800 projects for both climate adaptation and mitigation under a Climate Change Trust Fund set up with its own resources in 2009, is laudable and deserves to be recognized.
However, it is also unfair that, as Bangladesh is looking to take the next step in its economic journey, so much of its resources — and not just monetary — is going towards averting the worst of the climate crisis which could have been directed towards other sectors such as education.
Nevertheless, the climate crisis is here to stay, as is Bangladesh’s susceptibility. We reiterate the need for international partners to pay heed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s words and do the right thing to support Bangladesh in its bid to fight climate change.