Bangladeshi scientists urged to help withstand global climate change

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, December 7, 2009
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Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday made a plea to scientists and experts to come up with cutting-edge technologies for supporting people of the South Asian country, where climate change represents one of the greatest threats to lives and their livelihoods.

Speaking at a program in capital Dhaka Monday, she said the country and its laborious people have been the worst victims of the global climate change with no fault of their own.

Meanwhile, Hasina said climate change has also become the biggest threat for the world civilization.

"I urge you (the scientists and technology experts) to come forward to increase capacity of the people to face the climate threats," she said.

Mentioning the disastrous consequences of the cyclonic storms SIDR in November 2007 and Aila in May 2009 which battered Bangladesh's coastal areas, Hasina said there is an urgent need to invent salinity and drought-resilient crops for boosting food production in the coastal areas.

In this connection, Bangladeshi Food and Disaster Management Abdur Razzaque had earlier said the continued global warming and climate changes will affect Bangladesh's agriculture, food security and livelihood very severely.

"The geographical location and topographic setting of Bangladesh makes it one of the most disaster prone countries of the world," he said at a consultative workshop on the theme of " Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture and Food Security" in Dhaka recently.

"We clearly remember that two floods and cyclone 'Sidr' occurring in 2007 compounded by the global food and fuel crisis of 2007-08 reduced food available for the poor and contributed to a dramatic increase in the prices of food with perverse effects especially for the poor and marginal people," Razzaque said.

He said the country's food insecure population reached to 65.3 million, a rise of 7.5 million largely because of the impact of higher food prices. Similarly, the size of the severely food insecure population has also shot up by an estimated 6.9 million, up from 27.9 million to a present level of 34.7 million.

However, PM Hasina Monday said that Bangladeshi scientists, who have been working in a number of globally renowned institutions through out the world, can play a vital role in the country's efforts to better face the climate change related shocks.

She stressed the need for inventing Bangladesh's own technology instead of looking for technologies from overseas countries. "We can use other countries' technologies in our own style," Hasina said, adding about her country's preparation to attend the conference in Copenhagen of Denmark from Dec. 7 to 18.

Bangladesh has already hinted that it will seek around 700 billion taka (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) from the international community at the Copenhagen conference to deal with the impacts of climate change.

The country's parliamentary standing committee on environment and forest ministry at a meeting in Parliament Thursday discussed the preparation for raising demands at the conference as Bangladesh will be one of the worst victims of climate change.

The standing committee chief Abdul Momin Talukder told a press conference after the meeting Thursday that the country would demand 700 billion taka including 380 billion taka ( about 5.4 billion U.S.dollars) for dredging the rivers.

He said 19 percent of Bangladesh's lands would go under water because of climate change.

Against such situations, Bangladesh had earlier called for enhanced effectiveness of the international aid and urges the international community to fulfill its commitments in delivering aid to Bangladesh " There have been gaps in commitments versus actual delivery and gaps in terms of timing of delivery," Razzaque said at the workshop.

"More broadly, we think that a clear commitment should be taken at international level to ensure that a significant share of the fund committed by the international community to cope with climate change is allocated to food security and disaster preparedness," he said.

Quoting the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Bangladeshi minister said average yield of crops in the South Asia region will decline from 2000 to 2050 by about 17 percent for rice, 50 percent for wheat and 6 percent for maize because of climate change.

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