Bangladesh parliament resolved for Planetary Emergency

Ershad Kamol | Updated at 12:40am on November 14, 2019

The Jatiya Sangsad on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution for the declaration of a Planetary Emergency aiming to grow global awareness for saving the earth from its existential crisis of the climate change, devastating impact of the disasters and increase in extreme weather events.

The declaration came at a time when the earth continued facing irreparable loss of biodiversity, looming food insecurity, rising water crisis, unprecedented pressure on oceans and unsustainable use of resources.

Jatiya Sangsad called all other parliaments, governments, the United Nations and all stakeholders to work on a war footing, as  custodians and as one team, to protect and fortify the planet — the ‘only home the human beings have,’ said the resolution.

A worst victim of the climate change and natural disasters, Bangladesh parliament is the first in the world to resolve for a Planetary Emergency for safeguarding the unique planet from man-made disaster.

The move was taken two days after the devastating cyclone Bulbul lashed the country on Monday killing 22 people in 14 coastal districts.

The resolution came following a notice of a motion moved by ruling Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury.

In his notice, Saber said the Article 18A of the constitution of the country stipulates that the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to preserve and safeguard the natural resources, bio-diversity, wetlands, forests and wildlife for the present and future citizens.  

‘So it is our constitutional responsibility for providing protection the citizen,’ he said.

Between 1980 and 2008, the country faced 219 natural disasters and is on threat of displacement of 4.5 crore people for sea-level rise by 2050, he said.

The UN predicts over one million species will disappear soon, he said.

Saber, also the chairman of parliamentary standing committee on the environment, forest and climate change ministry, in the notice mentioned parliaments of 23 countries had earlier took resolution on Climate Change Emergency.

He said the standing committee on November 4 decided to move a motion in the Jatiya Sangsad to announce a planetary emergency considering that the whole planet is in danger with increasing demands for food and water amid diminishing land area for sea-level rise.

The declaration ahead of the upcoming United Nations climate change conference, scheduled to be held in Madrid in December, he said, would give a global leadership position to Bangladesh.

‘So, it will be considered as a milestone if the motion for declaring Planetary Emergency is adopted in the parliament,’ he urged.

AL lawmakers Tofail Ahmed, Nasrul Hamid, Shahriar Alam, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim,  Matiya Chowdhury, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Waseqa Ayesha Khan, and Nazrul Islam Babu, Jatiya Party lawmakers Mujibul Haque Chunnu and Rustam Ali Farazi, BNP lawmakers Md Harunur Rashid and Rumeen Farhana, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal lawmaker Shirin Akhter among others spoke in favour of the notice.

Despite having contributed least to these problems, the house lamented that Bangladesh and many other countries in the developing world are the worst victims.

Actions at global levels have not matched commitments and rhetoric, the house lamented.

It urged global community to work together decisively for achieving net zero carbon emissions before 2050, capping temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius and transitioning swiftly to low carbon economies as overarching priorities.