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Diplomacy: Bangladesh fares as a ‘key partner’ of US to tackle global climate crisis

Shining Editorial || shiningbd

Published: 21:23, 19 May 2021   Update: 21:24, 19 May 2021
Diplomacy: Bangladesh fares as a ‘key partner’ of US to tackle global climate crisis

To wit, the recent visit of John Kerry, the United States special presidential envoy for climate, to Bangladesh and US President Joe Biden’s goodwill invitation letter to Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina to participate in the virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate, subtly, depicts a “growing” manifestation of ‘Climate Diplomacy’ in the discourse of US-Bangladesh bi-lateral relations, as well as in the global environmental forums and platforms.

Leaders’ Summit on Climate held on April 22-23 and attended by 40 world leaders of major economies of the world to galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis has been hosted by the US President Joe Biden.

The invitation for summit to Bangladesh, in-person visit by John Kerry, official statements and comments made by the US president, government officials and the US embassy in Dhaka indicate that Biden Administration is dealing with the climate change issues with paramount importance, where Bangladesh fares as a ‘key and significant’ partner of United States in the bilateral and multilateral platforms to prevent and mitigate the environmental and climate crisis.

The Leaders’ Summit on Climate is set to be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP - 26) this November in Glasgow. In this summit, Bangladesh and United States have expressed its optimism over both funding and cutting carbon emission as global leaders in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate made political commitments to turn the tide of global warming.

Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina, who addressed the two-day virtual summit that began April 22-23 as president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, put forward ‘four’ laudable suggestions including keeping global temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius, mobilizing $100 billion fund annually and transfer of carbon-neutral technology. This is no difficult to understand why Bangladesh should get attention to the United States in the realms of ‘Climate Diplomacy’.

Evidently, Bangladesh’s endeavors towards making the best use of diplomatic affiliation in an attempt to address the issue of climate change are noticeable. Despite being a climate-vulnerable country with resource constraints, Bangladesh has emerged as a global leader on adaptation and mitigation. According to official estimates, every year Bangladesh is spending about $5 billion, about 2.5% of the GDP, on climate adaptation and resilience-building measures.

More recently, Dhaka is also planting 30 million saplings nationwide and adopting the ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan’ to achieve low-carbon economic growth. Bangladesh is hosting the South Asian regional office of the Global Centre on Adaptation which is promoting locally-led adaptation solutions.

It goes without saying that Bangladesh has achieved worldwide recognition as a ‘resilient’ nation. The ‘success stories’ of Bangladesh to tackle the environmental hazards and climate crisis has been recognized by UNEP in 2015, where Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was awarded with the “Champions of Earth” for her leadership.

As chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance, Bangladesh is also expected to play an important role in the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP - 26) to the UNFCCC. Bangladesh found to be in positive effort to play a leading role in the last Conference of the Parties (COP).

Previously, as CVF chairperson, Bangladesh played vital role in negotiation with developed countries as to reduce the carbon emission in order to keep their pledges and, thus, the Bangladeshi presence at the CVF and V-20 conferences added value to arrive at a decision for raising common voice for the interest of vulnerable nations at different global summits.

In order to expedite climate change negotiations, Bangladesh intensified its effort to tackle climate change through development of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP). Such confidence in Bangladesh’s role is an acknowledgement of all that the country has done and achieved in this respect - Indigenous coping and adaptation techniques (developed over time by the climate change and disaster affected people of Bangladesh), combined with national drivers, e.g. plans and policies, regulatory and legal frameworks, establishment of Climate Change Trust Fund, attempts to make the economy sustainable and several other steps, opines Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Director and Professor at the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, University of Dhaka.

Indeed, the ‘Biden move’ towards Bangladesh to discuss the ‘environmental and climate change concerns’ should receive much appreciation as a timely action to prevent and reduce the ‘human catastrophes’ associated with environmental and climate hazards.

As quoted by John Kerry in an aptly manner, “No one country can solve the problems of climate crisis,” he told reporters after visiting other vulnerable countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and India.

That’s why Biden returned the United States to the Paris agreement on climate change after former President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal in 2017.” Moreover, Marcia Bernicat, US senior official for economic growth, energy and the environment, has applauded Bangladesh’s leadership in addressing climate change, which offers the United States – and the world – a ‘great partner’ to tackle this climate crisis.

As both the incumbent regimes of Bangladesh and United States place climate change issue placed at the centre of foreign policy, diplomacy and national security doctrines, the ‘widening and deepening’ of ‘climate diplomacy’ is of utmost importance in the days ahead.

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