Call for regional cooperation to fight fallout of climate change | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 18, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 18, 2007

Call for regional cooperation to fight fallout of climate change

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Environment and agriculture Adviser CS Karim yesterday painted a gloomy picture of environmental disasters in developing countries, including Bangladesh, which are set to be the worst victims of climate change. He urged more regional cooperation in environment matters to save lives.
"Livelihood and food security will face enormous challenges… people are now suffering as communication networks snapped and educational institutions went under water due to flooding," he said at the inaugural ceremony of a regional seminar on environmental laws.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) organised the three-day Fifth All Asia Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at Brac Inn Centre in the city in association with American Bar Association, US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Oxfam Novib.
Around 40 environment experts and lawyers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, China and USA are participating in the seminar.
Speaking as the chief guest, CS Karim said with rise of sea level 30 million people in the developing countries are set to be environmental refugees but few steps have been taken to prevent that.
"We, the developing countries, lack resources and the knowledge to combat such challenges," he said.
Greenhouse gas emission of the industrial countries is the main reason behind global warming, but they are advocating developing countries to maintain environmental standards when these countries face the dilemma whether to go for development or maintaining environmental standards, the adviser noted.
He said overpopulation has created tremendous pressures on the resources of the country.
"Even in the three ministries I am in charge of, there are many conflicts between development activities and keeping the environment standards," he said.
Enforcement of environmental standards therefore take the back seat, he said adding that a balance must be made between development and environment.
Calling for more regional cooperation in protecting environment the adviser said, "For example, we have the capacity to forecast floods three days ahead. But if we could forecast a day earlier, people would be greatly benefited."
The neighbouring countries therefore should have more exchange of information on such issues to save lives of people, he said.
"Collective wisdom will be under serious question if we do not go for actions now," he said, adding that environmental laws also need to change as new issues come up in course of time.
Chairing the session, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies Executive Director Dr Atiq Rahman said some of the small island countries would disappear if the sea level rises by 1.5 metres.
"Environment cost is not considered when electricity is produced in an industrialised country," he said, adding that the mountains, water and air belong to all human being and all should work so that none of these are affected.
S Rizwana Hasan of Bela, Sneha Barot of American Bar Association and Lalanath de Silva of Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide of Sri Lanka also spoke at the inaugural session.

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