We thank former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon for his comment that Bangladesh is the best teacher in climate change adaptation while addressing an audience at the conference on climate change adaptation in Dhaka. It is true that Bangladesh has come up with some innovative adaptation practices such as developing water resilient crops, home solar systems and a climate trust fund and these can be emulated by other countries.
However, this also brings to the fore the fact that Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and is at the receiving end of global warming. And the biggest polluters that have caused global warming are the developed countries who must take responsibility for burdening the developing nations of the world with the devastating effects of climate change. Developed countries are yet to disburse most of the funds they have committed to combat climate change.
At the same time, those projects that are related to combatting climate change have to be run efficiently. This can be possible if these projects are monitored and evaluated like the annual development programme (ADP) as recommended by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). Also, activities under development projects and climate change trust funded projects often overlap; thus there should be a synergy between the two. A climate finance policy must be formulated as soon as possible.
While we are trying our best to adapt to the realities of climate change, it is undeniable that in the home front there is much to be done. Most of all, we need to save our rivers, the lifelines of towns and villages, and reverse the cycle of river-grabbing, dumping of industrial wastes and erosion that are killing these lifelines. Apart from the loss of biodiversity, the death of rivers and river erosion have added to the retinue of climate change refugees who have lost their land and livelihoods and are forced to rush to the cities to survive. We must breathe back life into our rivers.