Monday, November 14, 2011

Climate vulnerable countries seek reparation from rich nations

SALEEM SAMAD

The newly created platform of climate vulnerable countries have developed a roadmap and action plan aiming to reach a consensus to stand united at the negotiations at Durban climate conference scheduled to take place in two weeks from now.

The two-day international conference of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) ended in Bangladesh capital on Monday. Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries will bear the brunt of climatic calamity for no or little fault of their own.

The Forum is one of the most striking new voices on climate change plans to take advantage of the positive momentum sparked by the Copenhagen and Cancun meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The group includes small island states vulnerable to extreme weather events and sea level rise, those with immense spans of low-lying coastline such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, and dry nations of East Africa.

Officials from 19 countries and observers from eight countries expressed their concern that climate change is causing political, economic and social instability exacerbating insecurity for the people of the poorest countries.

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the climate change constitutes a serious injustice and must be acknowledged by the global community. "We are bearing the brunt of the damage though we made negligible or no contribution to the menace," she remarked.

Expressing her worries as the economic cost of climate change is $130 billion and it would increase if adequate and timely steps are not taken.

Criticizing the global community, she said that she has not seen any clarity on how the global community would raise funds in the period between 2012 and 2020 towards operationalization of the Green Climate Fund.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in Dhaka on Sunday, was the keynote speaker. He made an international call for the world leaders, either of developed or underdeveloped countries, to unite to face the climate-change challenges and save the planet for the common good.

Ki-moon said: “We are in the middle of a serious economic crisis. But even in these difficult times, we cannot afford delay. We cannot ask the poorest and the most vulnerable to bear the costs.”

Quoting Hasina’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly this year, Ki-moon said a one-meter rise in sea level could push 30 million Bangladeshis homeless.

He commended the lead taken by Bangladesh to follow a pro-development, low carbon path and establishment of a Climate Change Trust Fund and a Resilience Fund.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com