Bangladesh’s Urgent Plea for Immediate Climate Funding at COP28

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As the global community confronts the escalating impacts of the climate crisis, Bangladesh emerges as a poignant example of a nation disproportionately affected by the changing climate. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, through an opinion piece for Context, a Thomson Reuters Foundation media platform, eloquently articulates the pressing need for immediate climate funding to navigate the multifaceted challenges that lie ahead. 

Drawing insightful parallels between the climate crisis and the unpredictable waters of the Padma River, Prime Minister Hasina highlights the inadequacies in the international response, particularly in the critical areas of mitigation, finance, and adaptation.

Bangladesh, despite contributing a mere 0.47% of global emissions, stands as the seventh most vulnerable nation to climate change. The consequences of escalating emissions are vividly apparent in the nation’s daily life, marked by soaring temperatures exceeding 40 degrees, severe heat waves, power outages, school closures, and devastating floods. 

The particularly grim month of August alone witnessed floods that claimed 55 lives and displaced thousands, underscoring the immediate and tangible impacts faced by the nation’s populace.

In response to these challenges, Bangladesh has proactively invested in adaptation strategies while simultaneously pursuing economic growth. The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan serves as a comprehensive blueprint for climate resilience, outlining ambitious targets such as increasing renewable energy capacity to 30% by 2030, fostering sustainable agriculture, and modernising energy grids. 

Notable national efforts include the construction of flood defences, sea walls, and mangrove forests and the implementation of satellite weather tracking systems. These initiatives form integral components of the national adaptation plan, strategically designed to ensure survival in the face of climate-induced challenges.

Prime Minister Hasina emphasises that adaptation must extend beyond traditional environmental measures. It involves fostering growth in interconnected economies and sectors, necessitating substantial investment. Initiatives to make solar technology more affordable, revise taxes on inverters, and attract international investment underscore the interconnected nature of adaptation strategies. Such strategies are pivotal for environmental sustainability and ensuring sustainable growth and resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Despite pledges made at COP28, where leaders committed $169 million to the Adaptation Fund, this amount falls short of the $300 million annual target. Prime Minister Hasina calls upon wealthier nations to fulfil their responsibilities, urging them to contribute to climate finance initiatives tailored to address the specific needs of vulnerable countries like Bangladesh. She highlights the glaring discrepancy between commitments and reality, emphasising the urgent need for developed nations to meet the long-standing $100 billion per year financing goal, with post-2025 climate finance targets set even higher.

Prime Minister Hasina delineates three crucial criteria for climate finance to be effective: sufficiency, regularity, and accessibility. Recognising the challenging years ahead for countries like Bangladesh, she appeals to international partners for deep reflection on common goals, decisive action, and acknowledgment of the costs of further delays. 

While acknowledging ongoing efforts, she emphasises the need for global solidarity aligned with the latest scientific understanding of climate challenges. This call for unity resonates as a crucial element in addressing the complex and interconnected issues posed by the climate crisis.

Prime Minister Hasina’s impassioned plea for immediate climate funding at COP28 is a poignant call to action as the world grapples with the intensifying challenges of the climate crisis. Bangladesh’s proactive initiatives and comprehensive adaptation strategies stand as a testament to the global urgency of addressing climate change. 

The international community must acknowledge and act upon the imperative need for increased climate finance, ensuring that the criteria of sufficiency, regularity, and accessibility are met. 

Prime Minister Hasina’s appeal serves as a clarion call for collective and decisive action to confront the pressing challenges of the climate crisis, emphasising the need for a united effort as the world navigates an uncertain and rapidly changing future. 

The urgency expressed in her message should catalyse global cooperation, ensuring that vulnerable nations receive the support they require to build resilience and sustainability in the face of an ever-evolving climate landscape.

– Syed Raiyan Amir is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

Published on The Financial Express [Link]