Fulfill climate deal promise
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the developed nations to deliver on their commitments to ensure climate justice and meet the historical responsibility to protect the world.
She was addressing the One Planet Summit at the La Seine Musicale in Seguin Island.
French President Emmanuel Macron, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the summit of the international leaders and committed citizens from around the world to address the ecological emergencies of the planet.
The main focus of the summit is to determine how those involved in public and private finance can support and accelerate common efforts to fight climate change.
Hasina said she believed that collective commitments and actions for “resilience and adaptation” would contribute to peace, stability and prosperity across societies.
The Bangladesh government would initiate programmes to increase the country's tree coverage from 22 percent to 24 percent in the next five years, she added.
About the influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, the premier said the country was facing a huge challenge due to the entry of over one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar.
She told global leaders that Bangladesh sheltered Rohingyas on 1,783 hectares of forest land in Cox's Bazar on humanitarian grounds.
“This crisis has severely affected the forest and environment in that area. In this situation, climate adaptation has become a major challenge.”
Hasina said Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change although it is not responsible for it.
“With our limited resources, we're addressing the consequences of climate change by mitigation and adaptation. This has been mainstreamed in our sustainable development strategy aimed at becoming a middle-income country by 2021.”
Despite being a developing country, Bangladesh spends over one percent of its GDP on combating climate change, the PM pointed out.
“We're making our agriculture climate resilient. We're also working on reducing dependence on groundwater for urban water supply.”
Hasina, also a member of the UN-World Bank High Level Panel on Water, said Bangladesh was committed to prioritising the water sustainability issues in all its economic, social and environmental actions.
She said one of the means to address the climate change challenges and environmental degradation is afforestation, and the Bangladesh government has already taken up massive projects for plantation.
Hasina said implementation of a $50.76 million flagship project is underway for the conservation of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and also a world heritage site.
Bangladesh is creating a green belt in the coastal regions to protect people from cyclones and tidal surges, coastal erosion and saline water intrusion. Around 67,000 hectares of land have been identified for afforestation, she said.
The premier reaffirmed her pledge to implement the Paris Agreement.
The UN secretary-general and the World Bank president also spoke at the summit, with the French president in the chair.
HASINA MEETS MACRON
French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday assured Bangladesh of his country's humanitarian support and playing a role in the UN and other international forums to find a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.
He gave the assurance during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Macron wanted to know about the present status of the Rohingya crisis, what Bangladesh was doing and what it expected from France.
Hasina said over one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas were living in Bangladesh which was a big burden on the country. It was also causing problems to the country's environment.
The premier briefly mentioned the five-point proposal that she had placed in the last UN General Assembly. She said the real solution to the problem lies in the implementation of those proposals.
The Bangladesh foreign minister recently visited Myanmar and signed an agreement with the country, she added.
“We inked the bilateral agreement, but we want the international community to continue their support [to Bangladesh] and keep up the pressure [on Myanmar] in this regard, or else the agreement would not be implemented.”
Shahidul said the two leaders agreed to form a joint economic commission to explore the trade and investment potentials of the two countries. The modalities of this commission will be decided later.
Macron called upon Hasina to identify the priority sectors for French investment. The PM in this regard mentioned energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and ICT sectors, and special economic zones.
Describing terrorism and militancy as a global problem, the PM said Bangladesh maintains a “zero-tolerance” policy about the two menaces and it has been handling those with an iron hand.
Accepting Hasina's invitation to visit Bangladesh, the French president said he might travel to Dhaka early next year during his Asia tour.
Earlier, the French president received the Bangladesh PM at the Elysee Palace. The premier was given a guard of honour.
Senior Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office Suraiya Begum and Bangladesh Ambassador to France Quazi Imtiaz Hossain were present.