Describing the climate crisis as a matter of life or death, frontline youths have urged developed nations to keep their promise on climate finance and act urgently.

They made the remark at a virtual dialogue “Youth, Climate Action and the Commonwealth: Field Experience and the Solutions” held Friday.

Marking Commonwealth Day, YouthNet for Climate Justice organised the webinar with support from the British High Commission in Dhaka and Commonwealth Secretariat.

State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk spoke as the chief guest while Abul Kalam Azad, special envoy of the Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency, chaired the event moderated by Sohanur Rahaman, executive coordinator of the YouthNet for Climate Justice.

Tanvir Shakil Joy, lawmaker from Sirajganj-1, climate scientist Professor Saleemul Huq and Ken O’Flaherty, UK’s COP26 regional ambassador to Asia-Pacific and South Asia, also joined the programme as special guests.

Zahid Faruk said young people are the first to be affected by the environmental challenges facing their societies and Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 is perhaps the best gift to the future generations by the present generation.

The vision of the Delta Plan is to build a prosperous Bangladesh through adopting compact, comprehensive, and effective strategies in line with the changing times, he said.

O’Flaherty noted that the Glasgow Climate Pact created a path where countries had agreed to involve youths in both decision making and in national delegations following calls from young people.

“We want to work with youths and continue to learn from people who are most affected and vulnerable,” he said.

About the youth leadership in COP26 and upcoming COP27, Ken said the youth leadership has been at the heart of COP26 and “it will continue to be our pillar in the upcoming COP27 as the UK holds its presidency.”

Saleemul Huq said, “We need to go beyond rhetoric and do actions. Dialogues cannot be just talk, talk, and talk. We need actions and youths need to be the ones to drive that action.”

About ensuring loss and damage funding issues, he said, “Loss and damage are happening. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that was published a few days ago has reinforced that message.

“And for every impact of climate change that happens everywhere in the world, including in rich countries, the people, who are being affected, are losing their livelihoods, homes, crops. And if we put it in dollar terms then for every hundred dollars loss, the victim is losing a hundred dollars.”

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