Keynote speech by H. E. Sheikh Hasina Prime Minister Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
15 September 2020
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Princess Bessmabint Bader, F20 Co-Chair, King Khalid Foundation,
Mr. Klaus Milke, F20 Chair,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalamu Alaikum and good evening to you all.
It is my great opportunity to speak on behalf of the Climate Vulnerable countries and highlight their perspectives to climate change issues. I would like to thank F20 Foundations for taking the initiatives to discuss the issues of climate and sustainability.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Climate and sustainability, the two issues, we are discussing today are mutually dependent. The G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product, almost 80% of world trade, two-thirds of the world population and approximately half of the world land area.
So, anything to do with global climate and sustainability must go through G20 for any satisfactory outcome. G20 has previously shown that jointly they can take many beneficial measures for the benefit of the global community.
The climate change is a global problem with cross border adverse impacts. So, it is the responsibility of the international community to take drastic measures to stop the activities that cause climate change.
The same goes for sustainability. Breakdown of sustainability anywhere will sooner or later result into total disruption of sustainability everywhere.
Climate change is the ultimate existential threat and its consequences are expected to worsen in near and distant future.
However, climate change has originated from the lack of sustainability triggered by human activities. As a result, we are experiencing floods, rainfalls, cyclones, heat waves, landslides and droughts in recent years with more fury and intensity.
Further increase of sea level, even for half a meter could threaten the very survival of many climate vulnerable countries. An ambitious collective response is a global emergency now and without the direct engagement of G20, nothing can be achieved to safeguard our children and their future.
For that reason, the strict implementation of the Paris Agreement is critical. We seek collaboration and support from the international community, especially from the advanced economies, to redefine their production and consumption. We must keep the increase of the global temperature within 1.5 degree centigrade and the G20 countries being the main emitters, should reset their NDCs accordingly.
As a deltaic country, Bangladesh is always prone to natural disasters. People here have been living since time immemorial showing their resilience against natural disasters.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bangladesh is also at the forefront in combating the climate-induced disasters through implementing various mitigation and adaptation programmes. My government has so far allocated 430 million US Dollar from its own resources under Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund to implement Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan formulated in 2009.
Millions of tree-saplings are being planted every year across the country to offset the impacts of climate change. Marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, we are planting 10 million saplings this year alone.
Our scientists have developed saline, flood and drought resistant crops and floating agriculture technology.
We have been expanding the construction of cyclone shelters programme, first introduced by our Father of the Nation 45 years ago. Our government has been spending on an average US$ 2 billion, 1 percent of the GDP, per year since 2010 for adaptation purposes.
Our Parliament recently adopted a resolution titled ‘Planetary Emergency’ calling upon all other Parliaments to declare this existential threat as an emergency for all countries.
G20 have greater responsibility to come forward with stronger commitment to mobilize global support to address the issue of displacement or climate refugees. Peace and security of all will largely depend on how we will be able to manage this forced displacement of innocent people. Nobody knows it better than us as we have 1.1 million forcibly evicted Rohingyas from Myanmar in Bangladesh. They are causing extensive damage to the environment and nature.
I will urge G20 countries to mainstream the issue of loss and damage as in many parts of the world, the environmental loss has become permanent and irreparable.
It is disturbing that the Global financing mechanism like the Green Climate Fund-GCF and the Least Developed Countries Fund-LDCF are severely under resourced.
Bangladesh is now the host of the Global Center on Adaptation’s South Asian regional office which will promote adaptation measures.
International community, including G20, should come forward to invest in adaptation efforts. We are also the current President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum-CVF. We seek strong support from the international community and G20 to increase adaptation finance for the climate vulnerable countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are still off track to achieve the SDGs by 2030. COVID-19 pandemic has further slowed us. Under these circumstances, G20 must announce accelerated actions to re-invigorate global economy in the spirit of ‘building back better’ and if I may add ‘greener’.
Let me conclude highlighting three issues of priority:
- For successful implementation of 2030 Agenda, addressing climate change is fundamental as both have symbiotic relationships with each other;
- We need greater collaboration from international community for unified, stronger and green mechanism to tackle the negative impacts of climate change and uphold sustainability. G20 countries have specific roles to play here; and
- Global financing mechanism must be replenished as promised in a true spirit of responsibility sharing and partnership.
I, once again, thank F20 Foundations for inviting me. I also thank everybody for their kind attention.