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Saber urged developed nations to keep climate pledges

by The Bangla Herald

Saber Hossain Chowdhury today said the world must act, and commitments of
rich nations must be fulfilled to address climate change impacts.

“Climate change is underfunded. Each time there are pledges by developed
nations, they remain unfulfilled. In Bangladesh, we have plans and locally-
led adaptation to engage communities. However, without funding, our efforts
are limited,” he said.

The minister said this while addressing the Climate & Health Finance Dialogue
held in Geneva, Switzerland last night, according to a message received here

In the current fiscal, Saber Chowdhury said the government of Bangladesh
allocated US$ 3.5 billion for adaptation, including health. “Our annual
requirement is about US$ 9 billion. So, where will the money come from?” he

In his speech, titled “Country-driven Climate-Health Actions and Financing
Needs,” he underscored the critical intersection of climate change and public
health, emphasising the immediate need for robust, country-specific actions
and financing mechanisms.

The environment minister stressed the importance of global solidarity,
pointing out the significant trust deficit that hampers collective action.

“We cannot trust each other because promises and commitments are always
unmet. We cannot allow climate change to worsen. If we continue to pump
emissions into the air while discussing adaptation and resilience, we must
recognise that resilience and adaptation have their natural limits. Unless we
control our emissions, we will face even deeper challenges,” he said.

Saber Chowdhury highlighted the immense pressure that climate-induced events,
such as heatwaves, place on health systems, forcing countries like Bangladesh
to prioritise between critical issues like climate change, health, education
and development.

“Bangladesh faces a spectrum of events. With the Hindu Kush Himalayas to the
north and the Bay of Bengal to the south, we are squeezed between melting
glaciers and rising sea levels. Additionally, we face numerous challenges in
between, with many agreements, commitments and pledges,” he explained.

The minister pointed out that the impacts of climate change extend beyond
health, affecting water resources, nutrition, food security and women’s
health. Salinity intrusion, for instance, causes severe health issues for
women, including kidney problems, respiratory issues and hypertension.

“The whole approach to ‘One Health’ – addressing the interconnection of
animal, human, and environmental health – is now threatened. It’s a steep
challenge, but it is necessary for implementation,” he emphasised.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury detailed Bangladesh’s proactive measures through its
new National Adaptation Plan, which addresses health risks and considers
slow-onset events like rising sea levels, salinity intrusion, melting
glaciers, biodiversity loss, and the increasing intensity and frequency of
natural disasters.

“We are following our new National Adaptation Plan, addressing health risks.
We must consider slow-onset events, such as rising sea levels, salinity
intrusion, melting glaciers, biodiversity loss, and the increasing intensity
and frequency of natural disasters. We need to manage all of these
challenges,” he said.

The minister’s address was a compelling reminder of the urgent need for
global action and adequate financing to combat the intertwined challenges of
climate change and public health.

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