The global community has adopted an extravagant agenda consisting of 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 specific targets aiming at ending poverty and attaining sustainable development for all by 2030. But implementation of these goals will entirely depend on the success of concerted efforts of all countries in overcoming the key barriers to sustainable development. Dealing with the increasing threat of climate change will be one of the major challenges ahead for nations, especially the least developed and developing ones that are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks. A new report from the World Bank warning that human-caused climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty within just 15 years reminds all of us once more of the fact that climate issues need ardent handling.
For Bangladesh in particular, these predictions bear ominous signal. Since the Bangladesh economy is very much dependent on climate sensitive sectors, like agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the country is likely to endure various climate change impacts. Despite the fact that Bangladesh has little contribution to increasing global warming, this phenomenon is likely to bring new challenges for the low-lying country as well as exacerbate the existing ones, impacting livelihoods and food security. Resultantly, the country may find it extremely difficult to expedite its economic growth in the face of an increasing threat of climate change. Hence, it has become an urgent need for the country to reduce the vulnerability of its natural and socio-economic systems to the predictable change and adapt to the altered climate regime.
The incumbent government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seems to have taken this issue in right earnest. Notwithstanding various limitations, including resources constrains, Bangladesh is trying to fight climate change on its own. The government has taken up Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) and established a separate Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) for managing the adverse effects of climate change in the country. The Bangladesh premier has received the Champions of the Earth award, the United Nations' highest environmental honour, in recognition to her laudable leadership in this respect. Now, the government needs to include climate change adaptation as an integral part of broader development policy, integrating all the people, government and non-government institutions and development partners. This will help adapt to climate change and approach it in a pragmatic way.
But battling climate change cannot be done in isolation; rather it can be much more easily achieved if addressed in coordinated manner, involving all parties. In fact, the least developed and developing countries, like Bangladesh, cannot do much in mitigating climate change as a whopping cost is required for that purpose. The developed and industrialised countries, which are the major players behind climate change, must come forward with immediate mitigation, adaptation and emission-reduction policies. The Paris climate summit has opened windows for the global partners to work concertedly to fight the long battle against climate change as the international community, especially the developed countries, successfully agreed on crucial matters, like setting a target to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius and providing at least $100 billion every year from 2020 to the developing nations.
Let us hope that combined efforts made by nations will usher in a cleaner and healthier future for the inhabitants of the planet earth.