Appoint permanent negotiators
Experts at a discussion meeting yesterday urged the government to appoint one or two permanent negotiators to lead the country's delegation to international climate change negotiations.
“The negotiators are usually changed in line with the changeover of political government. So they cannot achieve expected success form their mission. We should bring an end to this culture and appoint permanent negotiators for continuing climate change negotiations,” they added.
The discussion on 'Revised text for climate change negotiation' was organised jointly by the Sustainable Development Networking Foundation (SDNF) and the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) at the National Press Club in the city.
The meeting was organised to exchange views with the cross section of people to revise the text drafted for the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dr Asaduzzaman, secretary of the SDNF, Dr Rezaul Karim, environment specialist, and Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, chairman of FEJB, presented separate keynote papers which focused on global negotiations on climate change, technology transfer and the country's position at the climate change negotiation.
They said the neighbouring country India has a number of skilled permanent negotiators.
“Our government should also take such steps to create expert and permanent negotiators,” they added.
Addressing the meeting State Minister for Environment and Forest Advocate Mostafizur Rahman said the present government allocated Tk 700 crore in the current fiscal year, and the immediate-past caretaker government allocated Tk 300 crore for short, mid and long-term projects to face the challenges of climate change.
But the fund remained unutilised in absence of any legal framework on how to use it, he added.
Mostafizur said the revised version of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, and the draft on the utilisation of Climate Change Trust Fund have already been submitted to the cabinet division for approval.
“As a policy maker of the government I will try my best to incorporate all the experts keeping political divide aside to work together for addressing the adverse effects of climate change. Only coordinated efforts can face the challenges of climate change for our survival,” he said.
Terming the Copenhagen conference a milestone in addressing the global climate change, Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, vice chancellor of BRAC University, said, “'We have to build up our capacity to realise our due share from the conference for adaptation as a least developed country.”
He also suggested formation of a separate group of 'most vulnerable countries (MVC) to raise their voice unitedly at the global forum.
Dr Ainun Nishat, an environment specialist, said to protect its own interest Bangladesh should look for forging unity with other most vulnerable countries (MVC) and take initiative to make the group acceptable to others engaged in the negotiations.
Moderated by FEJB Chairman Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, the meeting was also attended by a number of NGO representatives.