Climate Adaptation: Bangladesh the best teacher | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:18 AM, July 11, 2019

Climate Adaptation: Bangladesh the best teacher

Says Ban Ki-moon

Terming Bangladesh the “best teacher” to learn from about adaptation, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon yesterday said the achievement of the people and the government of Bangladesh in the practice of adaptation was nothing short of miraculous.

“Let’s all be inspired by the examples the Bangladesh government and its people have shown in addressing climate change,” he said thanking the Bangladesh leadership for adapting to climate change wisely and effectively.

The former UN chief was addressing the inaugural session of the Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka, reports UNB.

Highly appreciating Bangladesh’s efforts, Ban Ki-moon said they are in Dhaka to learn from Bangladesh’s experiences and vision and send the message out across the world.

“Bangladesh is thus the best teacher to learn from about adaptation.”

Bangladesh is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Citing reports, Ban Ki-moon said some 17 percent area of Bangladesh would go under water by 2050 if sea levels rise by just one metre.

He said they would like to establish an adaptation centre in Dhaka to speed up the action on adaptation.

“Communities all over the world need help. There are many countries who are just as vulnerable as Bangladesh, but do not have the ability to build resilience on their own.”

He also cited Bangladesh’s long-term plan for the resilience of the delta, Delta Plan 2100, with the help of the Netherlands. “We need to share this adaptation practices. We can urgently and cost-effectively find ways to support communities affected by climate change. We can help them survive and thrive. Adaption is a smart investment.”

Ban Ki-moon said the climate change is approaching much faster than one may think of and there is no time to lose.

He said the GCA would publish its flagship report which would be action-oriented.

He mentioned about a cyclone in the 1970s that killed half a million people. “Now you’ve effective adaptation system. You can save property and human lives. This is adaptation in action.

“This is why we’re here to learn from you and send message far and wide from Dhaka.”

The former Korean diplomat said there were only 12 fatalities during Cyclone Fani in Bangladesh. “Thanks to the more accurate weather forecasting, community-based early warning system and cyclone centres -- 1.6 million people were moved to safety.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the event. Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, World Bank CEO and Global Commission on Adaptation co-chair Kristalina Georgieva, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin also spoke.

The Dhaka Meeting will prepare a set of recommendations on climate change adaptation for the UN.

In 2009, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to create national adaptation programme of action in this regard.


Ban Ki-moon yesterday proposed setting up a global centre for adaptation in Bangladesh for the South and South-East Asia.

The former South Korean diplomat placed the proposal when he, along with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, met the PM on the sidelines of a two-day Dhaka meeting, reports UNB.

Briefing reporters after the joint meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said Ban Ki-moon and Hilda lauded the disaster management of Bangladesh.

The former UN chief said Bangladesh would be among the countries worst affected by climate change.

In reply, Hasina said Bangladesh makes little contribution to carbon emission which is responsible for climate change.

Ban Ki-moon and Hilda praised the initiative and leadership of the PM to face the adverse impacts of climate change.

“You [Hasina] are one of the few global leaders on climate change. I count on your continued commitment,” Ban Ki-moon was quoted as saying.

He said he had many memories in Bangladesh as he visited the country several times.

Hasina said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had built multi-purpose cyclone centres after the country’s independence.

She said Bangabandhu also built a green belt in Cox’s Bazar to reduce the damages of natural disasters. Some 45,000 volunteers were trained up to handle disasters at that time.


Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon yesterday expressed fear that the Rohingya issue would eventually turn out to be an unbearable crisis for Bangladesh, reports BSS.

“It is not possible for Bangladesh to host such a large number of Rohingyas for a long time,” he told journalists while visiting a Rohingya camp in Kutupalong. The Marshal Islands president and the World Bank CEO accompanied Ban Ki-moon.

The former South Korean diplomat said Rohingyas appeared as a huge “burden” for a country like Bangladesh.

He said Myanmar played a much lesser role in repatriating Rohingyas than what was expected. “The Myanmar government should do much more so that Rohingyas can return to their homeland without fear and persecution.”

Ban Ki-moon sought a harmonious solution to the Rohingya crisis through dignified return of the Myanmar nationals.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin accompanied the foreign dignitaries.

The former UN chief arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday to attend the meeting on climate change adaptation.

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