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The world must act, and Climate Commitments must be fulfilled. -Environment Minister

May 29, 2024 4:00 pm
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The Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the world must act, and commitments must be fulfilled. He said “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. This fiscal year, the government of Bangladesh allocated $3.5 billion for adaptation, including health. Our annual requirement is about $9 billion. So, where will the money come from?”

Environment Minister said this while delivering a compelling and urgent address at the Climate & Health Finance Dialogue held in Geneva, Switzerland last night. His speech, titled “Country-driven Climate-Health Actions and Financing Needs,” underscored the critical intersection of climate change and public health, emphasizing the immediate need for robust, country-specific actions and financing mechanisms.

Saber Chowdhury 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 recognize that resilience and adaptation have their natural limits. Unless we control our emissions, we will face even deeper challenges.”

Minister Chowdhury highlighted the immense pressure that climate-induced events, such as heatwaves, place on health systems, forcing countries like Bangladesh to prioritize 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.

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 emphasized.

Minister 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.”

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. Change.