Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the Commonwealth to play a role in eradicating poverty and minimizing climate vulnerabilities of the underprivileged segment of the population.
“I strongly believe that the Commonwealth can play a pivotal role towards sustainable and nature-based solutions for a prosperous future,” she said while addressing a virtual roundtable of the Asia Regional Commonwealth heads of government.
Prince of Wales Charles Philip Arthur George, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, convened the roundtable.
As a member of the Commonwealth and the Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum-CVF, Sheikh Hasina suggested three measures ahead of COP26, including promotion of green and sustainable economic growth worldwide and investing in a circular economy for building back better.
The two other measures are giving emphasis on carbon neutral technologies with a provision of knowledge and technology transfer among members of the Commonwealth with particular attention to the vulnerable countries; and supporting the climate vulnerable countries to get access to climate finance for adaptation measures.
The prime minister also urged everyone to focus on providing shelter to the homeless which is the best strategy to eradicate poverty and minimize climate vulnerability of the underprivileged segment of the population.
She said Bangladesh has emerged as a global leader on adaptation despite vulnerabilities and resource constraints.
“Every year, we’re spending about 5 billion US dollars from our own resources for adaptation and climate resilience,” she said.
As the CVF Chair and the host of the South Asian regional office of GCA, Bangladesh is promoting the interests of the vulnerable countries and locally-led adaptation solutions, and rehabilitation of uprooted people from their homes due to riverbank erosion and erratic climate change with climate resilient houses, she added.
She said Bangladesh has adopted “Mujib Climate Prosperity Initiatives” marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change.
Under the initiatives, Bangladesh is pursuing a low-carbon development path. “We’re going to generate up to 40 Giga Watt of renewable energy by 2041, and plant 30 million saplings. We hope to submit a quantified ambitious NDC by June 2021,” she said.
As the second largest exporter of readymade garments, Bangladesh is also exploring efficient options of circular fashion and textiles as part of the overall circular economy, she said.
Noting that the world is going through an unprecedented and yet uncertain pandemic situation of which Bangladesh is also no exception, the prime minister said her government has adopted policies and measures focusing on lives and livelihoods.
“By the grace of the Almighty, Bangladesh has been able to continue with its socioeconomic development minimizing the impact of the pandemic,” she said.
Hasina extended her sincere thanks to the Royal Highness convening the roundtable with mother nature at the heart of the dialogue.
She reaffirmed Bangladesh’s wholehearted solidarity with your Terra Carta Sustainable Markets initiative and your leadership fostering unity, ambition, sustainability and collective action by our Commonwealth at COP26 and beyond.
Sheikh Hasina paid special tributes to the late Duke of Edinburgh and his legacy as a conservationist and quoted him as saying that if nature doesn’t survive, neither will men.
“Indeed, in our war against nature, we’ll only lose unless we unite to harness the power of nature for an equitable, resilient and greener post-Covid-19 recovery for our succeeding generations and vulnerable communities,” Hasina added.