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PM’s plea for global engagement to stop climate migrants

Published : Thursday, 30 November, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 440

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for concerted global actions in order not to let climate displacements veer into a humanitarian crisis with a plea to the world community to extend support for the worst-affected countries in which Bangladesh is also included.

Sheikh Hasina's concerns on the climate change impacts came in a video statement that was played at the high-level segment on "Climate Impact on Human Mobility: A Global Call for Solutions" during the 114th Session of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Council held on Tuesday virtually in Geneva.

It was a timely call from the Bangladesh side just a day before  the  28th session of the Conference of Parties, COP 28, kicks off in Dubai today (Thursday). Her statement also carries special significance as Bangladesh is the current chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 most vulnerable developing countries.

These most vulnerable countries bear the brunt of climate change and the worse is yet to come. By 2050, an estimated 216 million people are likely to lose their homes, of which 40 million alone would be in the South Asian countries.

What is more worrying is that Bangladesh is feared to be one of the most affected countries by the climate change as over 20 per cent of its population lives along the coastal belt where natural calamities occur every now and then.

These coastal regions have been worst-hit by cyclones and extreme weather events and the rate and intensity of these events are increasing every year. This rise in cyclone frequency and severity is mainly attributed to the rising temperature due to climate change.

On top of the frequent climate displacements, Bangladesh has borne the burden of sheltering over 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. This is one of the major humanitarian crises facing Bangladesh.

However, this is commendable that despite fund constraints, Bangladesh government has undertaken some special initiatives to provide abodes for the climate migrants.  For instance, around 139 multi-storey buildings are being built under Sheikh Hasina's flagship Ashrayan project which is expected to house over 4,400 families to be displaced by natural disasters.

Like many other most vulnerable nations, Bangladesh needs financial support from the developed countries which are mostly responsible for industrial emissions. This is why Bangladesh delegation is expected to shed special focus on the 'operationalisation' of the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) in the COP 28 summit.

Dhaka had earlier advocated a Delivery Plan for the UN-agreed $500 billion of additional climate funding from the wealthy countries for a 4-year period until 2024. But the rich nations have largely failed to fulfill their financial commitments though deadline is nearing its end.

 Since vulnerable nations have been in dire need of funds from the LDF to fight climate change, we are hopeful that the COP 28 would find ways to solve financial issues in order to fight the climate change.

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