Friday, June 22, 2012

Agenda 21 ‘degraded’ in Rio – Bangladesh Minister

By Kimbowa Richard

At a side event organised by DARA (an independent International organisation based in Spain) on the ‘the place for climate vulnerability in the Rio agenda’, Ministers from Bangladesh, Costa Rica and Nepal decried the increasing effects of climate change on the lives of their citizens and their economies

In his submission at a discussion panel that included other Ministers from Nepal and Costa Rica, the Bangladesh Environment Minister - Dr. Hasan Mahmud said that there has been a ‘degradation of Agenda 21’ in Rio. He noted that with only a few paragraphs, climate change is not adequately addressed as millions of people continue to be displaced due to a loss of livelihood. He added that with inadequate Rio texts, his country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses will only grow which will further aggravate this condition. ‘Rio should amplify climate change in the Rio+20 outcome texts, Dr Hassan Mahmud cautioned.

On his part Mr. Rene Castro, Environment Minister of Costa Rica said that Climate change and climate vulnerability must be prominent in the Rio Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals for them to have any chance of success. He informed the meeting that it is a basic human right to have a home rather than being displaced by climate change as it appears to be in different parts of the world.
‘To have forced migration is unacceptable, Mr Rene emphasized. He disclosed that Costa Rica currently uses up to 1% of its GDP to offset climate change related impacts on infrastructure, schools, settlements and other sectors, but this is expected to rise if no counter steps are taken.

The Nepalese Environment Minister - Dr. Kashab Man Shakya, Environment said that the climate problem is international. He gave the example that when the Himalaya (the water tower of South Asia) glaciers melt, it is not just Nepal that suffers from the resulting avalanches and landslides. Bangladesh as well as India suffers too. ‘Therefore much more international collaboration is required to avoid such effects’, Dr Kashab noted.

The way I see it, this side event exemplified the real need to reach vulnerable and marginalised communities and groups when developing the planned Sustainable Development Goals that should have a clear linkage with the post 2015 (MDG) development framework. Such an inclusive, unified equity – sensitive process should be able to come up with a global response on how climate change and other environmental challenges currently faced by vulnerable countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America should be addressed.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of vulnerable countries from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific founded in 2009. 19 members of the Forum adopted a 14-point Ministerial Declaration in Dhaka, Bangladesh in mid-November 2011 at a meeting inaugurated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the threshold of the UN talks in Durban. Costa Rica is incoming Chair and DARA is a key support partner.

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