Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Hon’ble President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands
Chairman of the Global Commission on Adaptation H.E Ban Ki- Moon, former UN Secretary General
Ms Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am privileged and delighted to welcome you all to this ‘Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation’. I would like to thank specially its Chair, Co-Chair, and Commissioners of the Commission for deciding to hold such an important meeting on Adaptation in Bangladesh, a country that has adopted and is practicing many innovative strategies to face the challenges of Climate Change.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of Climate Change. If there is one meter rise of sea water, as per various estimates, one third of its land will go under water and such is likely to displace nearly 30 million people out of their sweet homes and traditional livelihood. Where will they go? I don’t know. Already owing to erosion of their banks, and erratic Climate Change, hundreds and thousands of people are crowding our cities and towns and creating slums and ghettos. A large proportion of our development funds are being diverted towards humanitarian rehabilitation sectors slowing down our development process. As per World Bank report of 2018, around 134 million people or 82% of our population are at risk of declining living standards as a result of erratic Climate Change. In addition, our Annual expected GDP loss could be 2-3% per annum and by 2100, this loss is estimated to be more than 9% every year. Our 19 coastal districts are under direct threat of being submerged permanently. As per UNICEF report published in last April, 6 million have already lost their homes in Bangladesh and more alarming is, this figure could double by 2050. As per the report, already 9 million children are affected by 2050, 1 in every 7 people will be ‘a displaced person’ in Bangladesh. Globally one in every 45 people will be ‘a displaced person’ and parts of Florida, prestigious universities like Harvard and MIT will go under water and countries like Kiribati may not exist.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Given this dire consequence, we cannot and must not remain idle spectators. We are a nation of victors; we achieved our independence through sacrificing blood, 3 million died for our independence. Therefore, Bangladesh led by its able and dynamic leadership Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted many strategies to face the challenges of Climate Change. She adopted a comprehensive Climate Strategy as early as 2009 and set up two Trust Funds on her own for Adaptation and Mitigation programs. She mobilized over 420 million US Dollar and has taken up 687 projects of which 313 have already been completed. Over the years Bangladesh excelled in disaster management and our Disaster Management Policies and Practices have become ‘role model’ for many developed and developing countries across the world. No wonder, Sheikh Hasina rightfully received many global awards like ‘Champions of the Earth’ in 2015, ‘South –South Leadership Award’ in 2013etc. She spearheaded a clarion call in many UN forums FCs to face the challenges of 1. Mitigation, 2. Adaptation, 3. Climate Financing, 4. Loss and Damage and 5. of course, Issues of Climate Migrants. We have used our experiences, our habitual resilience and modern technology like ICT and grass-root people’s participation and these has drastically reduced these loss of lives. For example, in the hard-hit cyclone and tidal waves of 1970, nearly half of a million lives were perished whereas same kind of ferocity and speed of the cyclone in 2007 caused only 4000 lives and recently in 2019 surprisingly cost only 12 deaths. So our local adaptation measures and management policies, cyclone shelters for human being and animals, early warning systems and procedures, forestation programs, embankments, water and salinity, grass-root techniques and volunteering have, in fact, resulted in huge savings of lives and we are ready to share our experience with other.
Let me recall that since its establishment, the Global Commission on Adaptation has taken a number of initiatives to draw international attention to these sufferings of these vulnerable communities and I sincerely thank H.E. Ban Ki- Moon and all this Commissioners their deep commitment and engagement. Let me look forward to your upcoming report on Adaptation actions and your deliberations in Dhaka Meeting, I am sure, will definitely make your report much rich and significant, and set up a new course in Adaptation actions all over the world.
Let me thank all the guests present here especially those that came from abroad and again, I hope this meeting will pave way for future concrete steps in climate adaptation action programs.
We have overcome the gloomy forecast, of Malthus with our creativity and ingenuity and we are determined to face the challenges of erratic climate changes.
Let me conclude by quoting a Bengali poem... Õ‡gN †`‡L ZzB Kwim bv‡Kv fq, Avov‡j Zvi m~h© nv‡mÕ “(Don’t be worried by observing clouds, there is always sun shine behind it.)”