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Saturday Feature
Coping with climate change
Munima Sultana

          IS there any difference between various kinds of development approaches and the activities involved? The symposium being held in Manila on rice research or global conference in Geneva on health or trade talk in Hong Kong may have differences from sectoral points of view. But all works are for a better human abode and surveillance of the earth. And this is to cope with the impact of climate change (CC).
Bangladesh could manage migration of Morjina, a victim of land erosion or Ramzan Ali, whose land lost its fertility due to salinity. And for that reason, nowadays, agriculture has also become a matter of concern for food, fishery and water, energy, tourism.
Experts say that all the related ministries have been carrying out separate development programmes but facing obstruction in achieving the targets of the programmes.
The experts say that global climate change has made the country more vulnerable for its geographical location, large population, poverty, and its reliance on the climate-sensitive sectors. As the change in the global climate is likely to continue over coming decades due to increasing concentration of greenhouse gases, vulnerability of the country has been increasing further.
But flood, salinity, siltation or drought, cyclone, tidal surges and rise in sea level leave extreme impacts of CC that hit the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the country. But there is lack of adaptation to these impacts in different programmes.
Sources in the Department of Environment (DOE) said, adaptation programmes cannot be taken in different sectors due to lack of awareness and understanding among the ministries and development agencies on these issues.
They said adaptation to CC is now taken into consideration in different programmes through global and regional models with the help of scientific studies and researches.
But Bangladesh has yet to proceed in this regard.
At present Climate Cell at DOE has been working on increasing its own capacity as well as planning to work with other implementing agencies. A few non-government organisations at national and local levels like CARE-Bangladesh, BRAC, etc., have programmes on climate changes on a limited scale.
An advisor of Climate Cell said the extreme effect of the CC like cyclone and flood leaves impact on a farmer for acquiring new knowledge on crop production and technology which stress the need for capacity building programmes for all sectors.
"This capacity is needed for predictions based on researches," he said adding that global and regional models as well as national models are needed to predict the status of CC to cope with the impacts.
All the efforts to adapt to climate change from national or international level come against the backdrop of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The 1992 Framework Convention, ratified by 189 nations, establishes the basic structure of the existing climate change regime.
This includes the ultimate objective of stabilising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations at safe levels; general principles such as precaution, cost-effectiveness, and common but differentiated responsibilities; obligations to report on GHG emissions and national measures to combat climate change; and commitments for assistance and technology transfer to developing countries.
According to DOE, at present Bangladesh proceeded with significant studies like Bangladesh Country Study on Climate Change (1994-95), Asia Least Cost Greenhouse Abatement Strategy ALGAS (1994-96), Study on Strengthening for the Phase-out of ODS and Bangladesh Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change BANVA.
Besides, the country that ratified UNFCC and has accession of the Kyoto Protocol, has national climate change steering committee, Designated National Authority for Clean Development Mechanism projects, Initial National Communications, a Climate Change Cell and National Adaptation Programmes of Action NAPA to work further.
DOE sources said although national level institutional response to CC is significant, there are still lots to do like building the capacity of government to coordinate and integrate climate change issues into mainstream development activities and strengthening existing knowledge and availability of information on impact prediction and adaptation to climate change in NGOs, civil society, private sector.
They said as the climate change is a global and regional issue, it is also necessary to look into the issues focussing on building adaptive capacity. And these will help develop nations to adopt coping strategies to improve the capacity to live with climate change and reduce vulnerability and physical insecurity to a great extent.


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