World Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kristalina Georgieva yesterday said they have no time to lose and have to act now to accelerate adaptation against climate change to prevent the loss of lives and livelihoods.
“Time isn’t our friend. We have no minute to lose. We ought to accelerate adaptation. This is what our commission is determined to do,” she said, while addressing the inaugural session of “Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation” at InterContinental Dhaka.
Appreciating Bangla-desh’s achievements since independence, the WB CEO said the country has proven that development is the best resilience builder.
“Thank you [Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina] for leading the world on adaptation,” Georgieva said, mentioning that she was dreaming of coming to Bangladesh since she was in high school and the country got its independence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event. Marshall Islands President Dr Hilda Heine, chair of the commission and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, and Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin also spoke at the event.
Georgieva said she has admired the remarkable success of Bangladesh since 1972, noting that per capita income has gone up from $100 to $1,500, and the country is well on track to bringing poverty down to under three percent by 2030.
“It’s a country with high population density. It has managed to bring down population growth by mostly empowering women, bringing girls [to] school and creating jobs,” she said.
Georgieva also said she is very impressed by what Bangladesh has demonstrated to the rest of the world. Despite its own problems, it can show compassion to those who are fleeing for their lives (Rohingyas).
Justifying the convening of the meeting in Dhaka, Georgieva said it is the epicentre of what climate risks entail and how actions taken can protect people.
Bangladesh was ranked the number one economy at risk of climate change by the Climate Change Vulnerability Index in 2014.
But Georgieva said they have seen incredible ingenuity in Bangladesh in dealing with climate change.
She said that she used to tell a story about how Bangladeshi communities came up with a smart adaptation measure by switching to breeding duck instead of chicken because when areas are flooded chickens die while ducks swim.
She said there will be at least four dollars of benefits for preventing higher damage against every dollar invested.