Bolster regional, global efforts to mitigate climate change damages: PM

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that the global and individual country’s efforts needed to be streamlined through responsive policy, planning and governance, to make the actions regarding climate change issue successful.

‘Since origins of the climate change are global, their solution and management would also have to be global,’ she said.

The prime minister came up with this view while delivering her pre-recorded speech in the two-day fifth International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

The International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is the annual conference of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and its partners. It brings together member countries, organizations, institutions and infrastructure actors and stakeholders to strengthen the global discourse on disaster and climate resilient infrastructure.

The programme was held with the theme of ‘Delivering Resilient and Inclusive Infrastructure: Pathways for Risk Informed Systems, Practices and Investments’. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke at the programme.

Hasina, however, assured that Bangladesh is ready to join any initiative at the regional and global level dealing with the impacts of climate change.

‘I call upon for coordinated global efforts and shared vision for climate adaptation, mitigation and resilient infrastructures,’ she said.

She said that commitment and compliance on financing mechanisms were indispensable for addressing the unforeseen crises.

‘A greater sense of solidarity among governments, international and regional organisations, private sectors are required to build a sustainable and resilient future for all of us,’ she said.

At the same time, she said, ‘we need to bring changes in our way of thinking in this discourse by incorporating science, technology, innovation, resilient transition.’

She reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to working with the global community hand in hand to ensure a better world for all.

The International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure 2023 brings a purposeful focus on demonstrable solutions towards a call for action to realize resilience of infrastructure.

ICDRI 2023 will engage decision-makers, thought leaders, academia and institutions from across the world working on solutions for infrastructure resilience.

PM Hasina said that due to the adverse impacts of climate change, all were facing unpredictable climatic events and disasters, which are damaging establishments and resources in massive scales.

‘Strong and resilient physical infrastructure is needed to withstand and adapt to changing conditions, and from shocks and stresses.’

Recently, she said that the world has witnessed a series of catastrophes like massive earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and Afghanistan, hurricanes in the Caribbean, the US and Canada and flood in South Africa.

Last year, she mentioned that Bangladesh, experienced a series of natural disasters, including floods and cyclones, causing huge economic losses.

‘It is important that all future infrastructure construction and systems must be resilient to disasters to protect our investments,’ she stated.

She said that as one of the most climate vulnerable countries, Bangladesh experienced frequent natural calamities like flood, tidal surge, cyclone, storm, drought and thunderbolt.

‘IPCC report 2022 predicts, Bangladesh is at the risk of 2 to 9 per cent of GDP losses by the mid and end of the century due to climate change,’ she noted.

She said that In 2009, her government established the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund with own resources where nearly 800 projects have so far been implemented at a cost of USD 480 million.

During the recent Presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Bangladesh launched Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan to build a climate resilient prosperous country, she added.

She said that In 2022, the government launched the National Adaptation Plan, with a projected need for USD 230 billion by 2050.

Earlier, it formulated a long-term Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 with the aim of building a resilient and prosperous delta for our future generations.

‘My government now attaches importance to science-based infrastructure design and implementation. We recognise the need for involving our local communities to make the infrastructures work for them,’ she said.

In this regard, she said that the government had implemented a thousand flood control, drainage and irrigation schemes to cover more than 6 million hectares of land. It has conducted dredging and re-excavation of 1,400 kms of rivers.

‘We have built nearly 22,000 km of embankments, alongside 139 coastal polders. These infrastructures are giving protection to more than 20 million flood vulnerable people. We have so far conducted 1,229 km of riverbank protection work.’

For disaster response, she mentioned that Bangladesh had 4,530 cyclone shelters, some of which also serve as schools in regular times.

‘We are now constructing 550 Mujib Killas on raised grounds for multiple uses, including sheltering people and livestock during natural calamities.’

Under the flagship Ashrayan project, she said, her government has so far built over 700,000 houses and those were handed over to the landless and homeless people at free of cost.

‘These houses are strong enough to endure any natural disaster. We have also built 139 five-storey buildings in Cox’s Bazar to rehabilitate climate-displaced people,’

The PM said that her government was scaling up nature-based solutions like coastal green belts, floating vegetable cultivation and millions of palm tree plantation.

‘We are using our local-level trained volunteers as well as digital information and service centres to provide early warning. As a result of our actions, the number of deaths due to natural disasters has decreased significantly in recent years,’ she said.

The global community also recognised the efforts of Bangladesh and as recognition, the country has been awarded with ‘Champion of the Earth’ and many more accolades, she said.

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