Former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday branded Bangladesh as the ‘best teacher’ in climate adaptation noting that what the people and government of Bangladesh have achieved in the practice of adaptation is nothing short of miraculous.
‘Let’s all be inspired by the examples Bangladesh government and its people have shown in addressing climate change,’ he said thanking the Bangladesh leadership for wisely and effectively adapting to this climate change.
The former UN chief made the remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation’ at Hotel Intercontinental.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event. Marshall Island president Dr Hilda Heine, World Bank CEO and Global Commission on Adaptation co-chair Dr Kristaline Georgieva, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and environment, forests and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin also spoke.
Highly appreciating Bangladesh’s efforts, Ban Ki-moon said they are in Dhaka to learn from Bangladesh’s experiences and vision and send the message out across the world.
‘....Bangladesh is thus the best teacher to learn from about adaptation,’ said Ban Ki-moon, the current of the Commission.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change.
Citing reports, Ban Ki-moon said some 17 percent of Bangladesh will go under water by 2050 if sea levels rise by just one metre.
‘We’ll work together (globally) to accelerate climate change adaptation around the world,’ he said appreciating the political will and leadership shown in Bangladesh.
Ban Ki-moon said he had a very good discussion with prime minister Sheikh Hasina before the inaugural session of the meeting. ‘We would like to establish an adaptation centre in Dhaka.’
He mentioned that he was in China 10 days ago where they established an adaptation centre in Beijing.
Another reason to hold this meeting in Dhaka, he said, is to speed up action on adaptation.
‘Communities all over the world need help. There’re many countries who are just as vulnerable as Bangladesh, but which have not the ability to build resilience on their own,’ Ban Ki-moon said.
He also cited Bangladesh’s long-term plan for the resilience of the delta, Delta Plan 2100, with the help of Netherlands. ‘We need to share this adaptation practices. We can urgently and cost-effectively find ways to support communities affected by climate change. We can help them survive and thrive. Adaption is a smart investment.’
Ban Ki-moon said the climate change is approaching much faster than one may think of and there is no time to lose.
He said the Commission will publish its flagship report noting that the report will be a different, action-oriented. ‘I can assure you that.’
Ban Ki-moon mentioned the 1970s when a cyclone killed half a million people. ‘Now you’ve effective adaptation system. You can save property and human lives. This is adaptation in action.
This is why we’re here to learn from you and send message far and wide from Dhaka,’ Ban Ki-moon said.
He mentioned that there were only 12 fatalities during Cyclone Fani in Bangladesh. ‘Thanks to the more accurate weather forecasting, community-based early warning system and cyclone centres -- 1.6 million people were moved to safety...’
Later, Ban Ki-moon, along with president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Dr Hilda C Heine, met prime minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of a two-day Dhaka Meeting at Intercontinental Hotel in the city.
PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the joint meeting.
The former UN secretary-general termed Bangladesh a model case for the adaptation of climate change.
Both Ban Ki-moon and Dr Hilda highly praised the disaster management of Bangladesh.
They said some 10 lakh people were killed in the 1970 cyclone while 1.5 lakh in the 1991 cyclone, but few died in the recent cyclone Fani due to the government’s good management.
Ban Ki-moon said Bangladesh will be the worst affected countries of the climate changes.
In reply, the prime minister said Bangladesh makes little contribution to the carbon emission which is responsible for climate change, but Bangladesh is working much to this end.
Ban Ki-moon and Dr Hilda C. Heine lauded the initiative and leadership role of prime minister Sheikh Hasina to face the adverse impacts of the climate change.
“You (Sheikh Hasina) are one of the few global leaders over climate change. I count on your continued commitment,” Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as saying.
At the meeting, Moon said he had many memories in Bangladesh as he visited the country several times even becoming as the UN secretary general.
The Prime Minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had built multi-purpose cyclone centres after the Independence of Bangladesh following bitter experiences of the 1970 severe cyclone.
She said Bangabandhu also built a green belt in Cox’s Bazar to reduce the damage of natural disasters. Some 45,000 volunteers were trained up to handle disasters at that time.
Besides, the Father of the Nation developed Mujib Killas to save domestic animals alongside the people during the natural disasters.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, environment, forest and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin, principal secretary Md Nojibur Rahman and principal coordinator on SDGs affairs at the PMO Abul Kalam Azad were present at the meeting.
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