Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday hoped that the regional office of the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) in Dhaka will serve as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and a solution-broker for climate adaptation measures in the South Asia region.
“I hope this regional office will share the best adaptation practices of Bangladesh as well as other countries and exchange practices within the region. It will serve as a Centre of Excellence and a solution-broker for adaptation measures in the region,” she said addressing the launching event of the centre.
Sheikh Hasina and Chair of the GCA Board former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jointly inaugurated the ‘Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) Bangladesh’ digitally at Agargaon. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also spoke at the virtual function.
Noting that climate change is a global affair, Sheikh Hasina called upon all countries to enhance their nationally-determined contributions by December 31 this year in tackling the menace as well as execute the 2015 Paris Agreement.
About the newly-opened GCA office in Dhaka, the Prime Minister said this is a historic moment for combating climate change in South Asia through adaptation.
“It is heartening to note that the GCA Bangladesh office will facilitate, support and develop on-the ground action in South Asia to enhance adaptation and climate resilience,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina expected that the GCA Dhaka office would also support Bangladesh during its Chairmanship to Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable-20, two climate-based important international bodies under the UNFCCC process during the next two years.
She said South Asia is the most vulnerable region to climate-induced natural disasters like cyclone, flood, tidal surge, drought, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, landslides and avalanches. Even a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise of temperature will have severe consequences for Bangladesh and the region.
“We also must not forget the vulnerability of the children, women, elderly people and people with special needs against disasters,” she added.
Hasina said Bangladesh remains committed to implementing the Paris Agreement and adopting all the measures to prevent the rise of temperature from the emission of greenhouse gas and other environmental degradations.
She said her government has taken various mitigation and adaptation programmes under Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan formulated in 2009 to offset climate change impacts.
“We established Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund in 2009 and so far allocated 430 million US dollars from our own resources to implement the action plan,” she added.
The government has also been spending about 1 percent of GDP equivalent to US$ 2 billion per year since 2010 for adaptation purposes, she continued.
She said the government has formulated a 100-year plan called ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100’ as a long-term plan to face the challenges of climate change and natural disasters.
In the past decade alone, nearly 700 million people, half of the region’s population, have been affected by climate-related disasters, she said.
“Before people can recover from one disaster caused by natural hazards, another one strikes, reversing any progress made. To end this cycle, South Asia needs to build greater resilience,” she went on.
Hasina said Bangladesh is a unique example of climate vulnerability and resilience. People here have time and again shown their resilience against natural or man-made disasters. Yet, there remain a lot of things to be changed, she said.
“I think, other countries in the region also have similar experiences and some good practices on adaptive measures. I believe, together we can safeguard and build a better future for all of us,” she said.
The Prime Minister urged the GCA to explore the opportunity of supporting the Delta Coalition on a long-term basis.
Mentioning that the COVID-19 pandemic fallout calls for greater cooperation and collaboration among the nations, she said, “We should not leave each other rather forge unity to fight the current crisis or any such one in the future,” she said.
Ministers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives as well as GCA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Verkooijen also spoke on the occasion.