Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the inauguration programme of a two-day Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation in a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday. Photo: BSSPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday sought global leaders’ enhanced awareness about the climate change and their effective initiatives to negate its impacts.“I request all for their awareness and respective responsibility to fight the adverse impacts of climate change,” she said while inaugurating a two-day Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation in a city hotel.The prime minister also urged the world community to put more emphasis on research and investment on this issue as the climate change is fast affecting agriculture, life and livelihood.Marshal Islands president Hilda C Heine, former United Nations Secretary General and incumbent Global Commission on Adaptation Chairman Ban Ki-moon and World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva were present at the function.Speaking on the occasion, the three dignitaries highly praised prime minister Sheikh Hasina for her extraordinary leadership to lead the world to address the adverse impacts of climate change from the forefront.Hailing Bangladesh’s initiatives and strategies to fight the climate change impacts, Ban Ki-moon said, “Of Course we are here to learn from Bangladesh. When comes to adaptation, Bangladesh is the best teacher to learn about adaptation.”Wishing a complete success of the Dhaka Meeting of GCA, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said, “This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our own strategies to adapt to climate change, build resilience as well as offer to share our knowledge and experience with you.”“We are eagerly waiting to see the recommendations of the flagship report next September at the time of the climate change summit called by the secretary general of the United Nations where I, on behalf of Bangladesh and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), have been invited to speak,” she said.Bangladesh is expecting to take advantage of the best adaptation practices, most cost-effective solutions and risk reduction with the help of the Global Commission on Adaptation, she said.The premier said that being a leading country of adaptation, Bangladesh deserves to have a Regional Adaption Centre in Dhaka.Highlighting her government’s frantic efforts to effectively fight the climate change, she said, “We are working relentlessly to overcome our vulnerabilities and create adaptation measures for the people. Over the last decade, we have spent on an average around US$ 1 billion annually for adapting to climate change impacts.”Furthermore, to achieve climate resilience, the government created a dedicated Climate Change Trust Fund in 2009 and so far, more than US$ 420 million have been allocated from own resources to the fund for both adaptation and mitigation programmes, she informed the meeting.“We have designed project titled ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100’ for combating climate change,” the prime minister also said.Considering the adverse impacts of climate change, Sheikh Hasina said, her government is currently constructing more 378 Mujib Kellas, 3,868 multi-purpose cyclone shelters across the coastal districts and planning to build 1,650 more shelters gradually.She said, “Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman showed the path of climate adaptation by building 172 Mujib Kellas (cyclone shelters) in the coastal areas.”“We have taken initiatives to increase tree coverage from 22 per cent to 24 per cent in the next five years. So far Bangladesh has created 0.2 million hectares of coastal forests as shelterbelt to protect from tidal surges and calamities. Bangladesh is also successfully managing 601,700 hectares of Sundarbans Mangrove forest,” the prime minister said.Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and environment, forest and climate change minister Md. Shahab Uddin also spoke on the occasion.Seeking more attention from the global community to repatriate Rohingyas quickly, the prime minister said, “It is the responsibility of the global community to do more to ensure their quick return to Myanmar as well as look after them while they remain in Bangladesh as we have shelter to 1.1 million evicted Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar.”She also said that their presence in Cox’s Bazar makes the southeast coastal district of Bangladesh vulnerable.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina talks to Marshal Islands president Hilda C Heine (C) and former United Nations Secretary General and incumbent Global Commission on Adaptation Chairman Ban Ki-moon in a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday. Photo: PIDThe prime minister said Bangladesh has engaged in creating resilient forests in offshore areas to protect forest dependent communities and habitats of important forest biodiversity.“Besides, our scientists and farmers invented stress tolerant rice cultivation technologies which produced good results. Floating garden – a low input -low cost resilient family farming production system in the wetlands of the south-central coastal districts is another good example,” she said.Household Silo (HHS) is another adaptation practice in Bangladesh to ensure food security in disaster prone areas, she added.“Bangladesh, being one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, is also at the forefront of learning on how to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change,” the premier said.The prime minister said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) in 1972 for effective cyclone preparedness in coastal areas and prepared 49,365 trained volunteers to this end.Referring to deaths in several catastrophic cyclone since 1970 which claimed around 1 million lives in Bangladesh, she said, “The impact of natural calamities have come down significantly due to the present government’s various timely and effective measures.”In this regard, she said at least 150,000 people died in the 1991 catastrophic cyclone, adding that Cyclone Sidr in 2007 caused deaths of more than 3,400 people.She also said Cyclone Aila hit southwest coast of Bangladesh in May 2009 claiming around 190 people while Cyclone Fani in May 2019 claimed less than 10 people.Referring to ADB’s climate and economics report for South Asia predicting that Bangladesh’s annual GDP loss will be 2 per cent, if temperature continues to rise at the current rate, Hasina said 19 coastal districts of the country will face consequence if the sea level rises.“Evidences suggest that Bangladesh has already 6 million climate migrants, a number that could more than double by 2050 due to changes in temperature, increased frequency and severity of floods, droughts, heat waves, cyclones and storm surges, sea level rise, and salinity intrusion,” she added.“These changes are seriously affecting agriculture, crops, livestock and fisheries and threatening the food security of Bangladesh. According to IPCC report AR4, rice production in Bangladesh could decline by 8 per cent and wheat by 32 per cent by 2050 due to climate change,” she continued.“In 2015 in Paris, we have been successful in creating a solid ground for a meaningful cooperation in combating climate change impacts. Like many others, we firmly believe that climate change is a global challenge and we have to resort to global solutions,” the prime minister said.The Paris Agreement is the most pragmatic and effective global deal towards the global solution, she added.