The winner of UN’s Champions of the Earth and current president of the CVF calls for the solidarity of CVF-COP26 solidarity in a cover article he wrote for the April 2021 issue of The Diplomat magazine.
The prime minister opened an article reminding the context of taking over the presidency of the CVF for the second time in 2020 after being launched in 2009.
In 2019, President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands traveled to Dhaka to join the Global Adaptation Commission which Hasina co-hosted with former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
Together, they warn the biggest emitters that global adaptation action is far from offsetting the scale of uncontrolled loss and damage, and the increasing number of millions of climate refugees no one wants to host.
“We warn them that no country or business can ultimately remain immune from the climate rage,” Hasina wrote.
He said he was captivated by the courage and leadership President Heine used in addressing the climate challenges of his island nations while voicing them as president of the forum, the global partnership of countries most vulnerable to the threat of climate change.
“When he proposed that Bangladesh – at a tipping point for the climate crisis and a global leader in adaptation – should take over the presidency of the CVF by 2020, I felt I had to accept it,” the prime minister wrote.
Launched by the Maldives along with 10 other climate-disabled countries, including Bangladesh, CVF now represents more than one billion of the world’s most vulnerable communities, whose survival is threatened by even the slightest rise in sea levels, frequent storms or rapid desertification.
For Bangladesh, often referred to as the ‘ground zero’ of natural disasters, climate change is a battle of survival waged by millions of resilient people whose homes, land and crops have been lost to the recurring outrages of nature.
Hasina said 2 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP is lost to extreme climate events every year. At the turn of the century it will be 9 percent; by 2050 more than 17 percent of Bangladesh’s coastline will sink and displace 30 million people.
“Six million Bangladeshis have become climate refugees. Yet we continue to bear 1.1 million Rohingya from Myanmar at the cost of environmental damage in Cox’s Bazar. Who will pay for this loss and damage? “he asked.
Noting that Bangladesh and other CVF countries contribute little to global emissions, the prime minister said, “It is time to address this climate injustice.”
Therefore, during his presidency, he has made it his mission to amplify the voice and interest of the CVF in any global climate discourse ahead of COP26, he said.
He noted that the CVF presidency in Bangladesh came at a difficult time: the world was already on the brink of surpassing 1.5 degrees by 2020; major economies are struggling to increase their Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs at the end of last year; International cooperation in the climate sector has not been prioritized by the US for several years.
International climate finance is far from the $ 100 billion promised in Paris.
The G-20, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of global emissions, lacks the political will to finance transactional carbon markets to support low-carbon projects in vulnerable countries. The losses and damages are still very far away.
“And then COVID-19 hit us like a flash from the blue that triggered the three hazards of climate, health and nature.
“A violent awakening has finally forced the world to heed my warnings that the climate crisis is indeed an emergency.
And any recovery must be green, nature-based and resilient, ”wrote Hasina.
Therefore, he said, his first act as CVF president was to declare climate change a “planetary emergency” and call on all to be on a “war footing” to withstand a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.
In Fall 2020, there were very few NDCs, and COP26 was postponed, so Hasina launched the ‘Midnight Survival Deadline for Climate’ initiative at the CVF Leaders Summit, urging every leader from every country – “don’t fail to show leadership now, declare NDC which is extended no later than December 31. This is practically our survival deadline (CVF). “
After the launch, 60 governments submitted updated NDCs before December 31st. The UK’s NDC Renewal is most famous for being the first major economy to conform to 1.5 degrees and net zero by 2050.
The return of US President Joe Biden to the Paris agreement was also inspiring. “But those who fail to meet CVF’s midnight deadline, I urge them, to submit an ambitious NDC before COP26.
“The most vulnerable CVF members pledged no less than net zero by 2030, including Barbados, Costa Rica and the Maldives,” he said.
Bangladesh, the CVF member with the largest population, is also sending an interim NDC update with additional pledges above and above Paris to reduce methane emissions.
Hasina said climate adaptation and financing are top “survival” priorities for Bangladesh and the CVF as they strive relentlessly to protect their population from repeated extreme climate events.
“Realistically, my climate survival philosophy has become common sense. ‘Do yourself a favor’ and wait for nothing to save. Because, climate change will not prevent us from our slowness, “wrote the prime minister.
“As proof, I have long struggled for adaptation and development of local resilience which essentially is local actors, especially women and youth,” he added.
The double dangers of Typhoon Amphan and devastating floods cost Bangladesh $ 3.5 billion in GDP losses during last year’s pandemic, but the country’s disaster preparedness saved millions of lives.
Bangladesh has also learned to fund its own climate projects, according to Hasina, who cited the creation of a $ 450 million Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund which supports nearly 800 adaptation and resilience projects on its vulnerable coasts.
The country spends an average of 2.5 percent of GDP – $ 5 billion annually – on climate adaptation and resilience building through measures such as building sea walls, cyclone shelters and coastal plantations.
Bangladeshi scientists found nature-based solutions for coastal communities, such as salinity and stress resistant crops, rain reservoirs and pond sand filters, floating agricultural technology, and mobile water treatment plants.
Inspired by Bangladesh’s climate resilience credentials, said Hasina, the Global Center for Adaptation (GCA) led by Ban Ki-moon, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, urged the prime minister to host the GCA South Asia Regional Center in Dhaka.
He said the Center had established regional and global partnerships, including with CVF, to accelerate adaptation actions for vulnerable South Asian communities once it was founded in 2020.
“In Bangladesh, we are now fighting for climate prosperity. By pioneering the ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Decade 2030’, named after the Founding Father of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the hundred years of his birth, I have called on the CVF countries to initiate a ‘climate prosperity plan’, ”said Hasina.
“But CVF can only do a lot of things on its own. There are limits to adaptation too! ” she says.
“It is very important to build a strong CVF-COP solidarity. We would like to see the Dhaka-Glasgow-CVF-COP26 Declaration emerge from the November meeting. “
On behalf of CVF countries, he asked the G20 to send an ambitious NDC before COP26.
He also demanded that climate finance be released, not only for a low-carbon economy, but also for the promised $ 100 billion, and 50 percent dedicated to building climate resilience.
“We want to see international carbon markets opened up to transnational climate cooperation and solutions found for our huge losses, damage and climate injustices.
“In our war against nature, we will lose unless we unite,” he warned.
“We are consciously destroying the support systems that keep us alive.
What planet should we leave for Greta Thunberg or those at the Bangladesh Coastal Youth Action Center? At COP26, we can’t let them down. “