DHAKA: Bangladesh will focus efforts on funding the cost of climate change at the upcoming climate conference in Dubai, a member of the official delegation told Arab News on Sunday.
The South Asian country is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, despite producing only around 0.56 percent of global emissions.
Bangladesh faces severe and increasing climatic risks, with the average tropical cyclones costing the country about $1 billion annually, according to the World Bank.
At the UN COP28 Climate Change Conference that begins on Thursday, Bangladeshi officials will focus on climate funding in the hope of getting initiatives up and running by the end of this year’s talks.
“At least we want the Loss and Damage Fund to be able to start operating,” Ziaul Haque, Environment Department director at Bangladesh’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, told Arab News on Sunday.
The fund established at COP27 in Egypt was aimed at providing financial support for poor countries that had been hit hard by the warming planet, such as those experiencing rising sea levels, extreme heat waves, and crop failures, to allow the vulnerable nations to rebuild physical and social infrastructure.
However, a year after the breakthrough, the fund has yet to get off the ground as countries struggle to reach a consensus on its details, such as who will pay and where the fund will be located.
“We are expecting that these issues will be addressed during this COP, get approval and get adopted,” Haque said.
“Very soon, we will make an assessment to calculate our overall losses every year due to climate change impacts. This assessment will include the losses from cyclones, livelihood changes, losses of arable lands, costs of internal migration, etc. A (national) project has been approved in this regard and (is) expected to begin the work in this fiscal year.”
Bangladesh, along with other countries in South Asia, has experienced increasing extreme weather in recent years that has caused large-scale damage. Environmentalists have warned that climate change could lead to more disasters.
For countries like Bangladesh, justice is at the heart of the COP28 talks.
“It’s a matter of justice, because we have not done (anything) but we are being hugely impacted,” Dr. Rashed Al-Mahmud Titumir, who chairs the Department of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka, told Arab News.
“We had huge losses and damages … and we need to adapt and make a transition to green energy. For this, we need technology and finance.
“Every year, the amount of our loss and damage is rising … The global actors should display more action. Without any action, we can’t gain anything. They have been talking about building a fund, predictable finance, additional finance, but nothing is done.”