'BD is a very important actor of climate negotiations'Terming Bangladesh one of the most vulnerable continental countries to climate change, French Ambassador-at-Large for Climate for Asia-Oceania Philippe Zeller has said Bangladesh is a bridge between the developing and developed countries. "Its position is known and has always been taken into consideration:
Bangladesh is a bridge between the developing and developed countries," he told UNB during his recent visit to Bangladesh.
The Climate envoy said Bangladesh is a very important actor of the climate negotiations and Bangladesh has been working for decades in the COP framework. Asked whether enough consideration is being given to the concerns of the countries like Bangladesh, the climate envoy said in France they know about it and that is why he has come here to express their support for Bangladesh to explain what they were intending to do for COP21, and get the position, analyses and expectations of the country.
Responding to a question regarding Bangladesh's policy in terms of moving towards more 'green' sources of energy, despite challenges, he said, "We're very much conscious of the fact that developing countries do need to develop power resources in order to pursue their development."
Philippe Zeller mentioned that this is a big challenge and Bangladesh is making a tremendous effort to achieve its goal to become a higher middle-income country in 2021. "We highly recognise how efficient Bangladesh is in terms of domestic solar solutions for example. Green energies are the key to the future." The envoy said women are very strong all over the world, but in many places of the world they are mistreated, or they are not given the place they should have. "Men have to understand that women are the foundations of our societies. Girls must have a right to go to school equally to men."
He said being a poor woman facing climate change and disruptions is a very big challenge because these women are the most fragile ones and along with other organisations, like UN Women, the European Delegation in Bangladesh focuses and will keep focusing on the issue of women and education in its next five-year cooperation plan.
"We highly appreciate this effort in France. But I'm convinced that the main effort has to come from the societies themselves," he mentioned.
Sharing his experience with Bangladeshi stakeholders, Philippe Zeller said he was deeply impressed by all the people he met here in Dhaka, in such a short time. "Bangladesh is a place where you can meet worldwide known experts on climate issues, I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with them and I've learned a lot from them," he said.
"I met extraordinary dynamic people, completely involved in the big task of, I would say, "building the country," with the idea that Bangladeshi people are the future of their country, no matter how rich or poor they are. It was a very rich experience for me." Asked whether Paris COP 21 can be one of the last COPs, the climate envoy said indeed the United Nations framework is the most adequate one for the international negotiations on climate change because it is the only one, including all the governments.
"Considering that climate risk is a global issue impacting all the countries, this framework has to be preserved for the future," he said adding that COP21 must not be the end to a process, but the very beginning of a new one, starting from the agreement all want to see on behalf of the next generations. He said this new process, whatever it is, will have to involve all the governments and even beyond them, as the transition to a low carbon economy demands a large commitment of all the actors: of course the governments, but also the private sector, the civil society and the citizens. Changing the world 'we are living in will not be possible without the participation of all of us.'
Asked whether Paris this year will be able to deliver what Copenhagen, Cancun, Lima, etc, have failed to deliver, he said this is what they are all working for and the French government, the French decentralized administration, cities, departments and regions, the civil society and the private sector in France are all mobilised for the success of COP21.
The French Foreign Ministry has a dedicated team of 80 people working for more than a year with all our partners in order to pave the way to a legally binding agreement, which will make COP21 a success, he said.
"This agreement is the first pillar of COP21. It is fundamental in order to ensure that we have a consensus on the fact that we must maintain the global increase of the temperature below 2?C or even less, 1.5?C, by the end of the century, compared to the pre-industrial era."
Philippe Zeller said they are also confident that COP21 will help achieve a global understanding of the absolute necessity to redirect private and public funds all over the world in order to build a new carbon economy.
"Creating a new model means first of all working within a new framework. This new framework means mobilising both our existing and new resources through redirecting them in favour of the creation of this new model. We can't create a new model using the old traditional channels of action. This is the third pillar of COP21." Last but not least, he said, they want to show that solutions do exist to implement this transition to low carbon economy. "COP21 is an opportunity for all of us to show off these solutions which are mainly solutions of the private sector, as shown by the Business and Climate Summit taking place in Paris a few months ago, and the civil society."
Before leaving Bangladesh, Philippe Zeller listened to Bangladeshi views through his extensive interactions with stakeholders here. - ?UNB