A day-long workshop on the issue of climate change and sustainable development was held at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), on 31st March, 2018. The event was jointly organised by the Department of Law, Faculty of Security and Strategic Studies (FSSS), BUP and SDG Lab-Bangladesh.
The workshop, under the title “Embracing SDGs: Climate Action”, aimed at raising consciousness about alarming changes of the climate, and disseminating knowledge on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Esteemed speakers, who mostly have been young professionals and experts on the issue, discussed on the evolution of the idea of ‘development’ throughout the history, urgency of climate change diplomacy, and enactment of various domestic and international laws and policies related to the protection of environment, climate in line with sustainable development. The workshop attempted to highlight the current scenario of environmental pollution and degradation in Bangladesh.
Lt Col (retd) Siraj Uddin Ahmed, psc, Chairman, Department of Law, BUP, spoke at the event as the special guest. He inaugurated the workshop with his warm salutation and said that more and more awareness raising initiatives like this SDG workshop are needed to understand the importance of protecting climate of the universe and present a healthy environment to our future generations. Then, followed by a brief introductory session, Senior Assistant Secretary Mr. Mahmudul Hoque Moni conducted elementary discussion on SDGs and MDGs. Mr. Moni started off with the paradigm shift of the definition of development and finished his speech concentrating solely on the 13th sustainable development goal, i.e. climate action.
Then, Dr. Md. Khalid Hossain, Economic Justice Resilience Programme Manager, Oxfam Bangladesh, talked briefly on climate change and Bangladesh. Whole area of our country is being affected by climate change, he asserted by sharing international research reports. Although a few developed countries are utterly responsible for the emission of greenhouse gas which is essentially the cause for climate change, the impact is equally negative and deteriorating upon all the countries around the globe. The speaker explained how the border-less effect of climate change is sometimes defended by mega industrialised countries with a fallacious legal claim of right to pollute for economic development.
The topic ‘Innovation in Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation’ was elucidated by Mr. Tanjir Hossain, Lead - Resilience and Climate Justice, ActionAid Bangladesh. He emphasised on the need to innovate new ways for adapting with the inevitable change of climate. Interpreting innovation as a sustainable and long-term solution, he exemplified the adaptation made by China through the popularisation of renewable energy. Mr. Hossain also addressed the lack of investment in Research and Development (R&D) sector in Bangladesh.
Md. Abu Bakar Siddique, Lecturer in law, BUP, later on illustrated the development of environmental laws and policies in Bangladesh with references to various international conventions and protocols related to climate change. He differentiated global climate change regime with that of Bangladesh. Mr. Siddique pinpointed the existence of around 187 legislations in Bangladesh related to environmental matters as he further explicated the mechanisms of enforcing legal responsibilities towards environment.
Afterwards, an interactive group activity among all the participants brought forward new ideas for sustainable development in everyday life. The session was monitored by Mr. Rezwan Siddiqui, Lecturer, East West University. Prior to the group activity, a question and answer session facilitated the participants to do brain storming concerning all the earlier discussions.
The workshop of participated by 80 law students of BUP. In the valedictory session, all the participants were presented certificates for their contribution and effort in the workshop.
It was the third workshop organised by SDG Lab which is an initiative by a cohort of some Chevening Scholars. The facilitators aspire for an informed and empowered generation of youths to lead SDG initiatives in national and international arena.
THE EVENT WAS COVERED BY RAIHAN RAHMAN RAFID, CONTRIBUTOR TO LAW & OUR RIGHTS, THE DAILY STAR.