The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP28, kicks off today at Dubai, United Arab Emirates with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action.
Bangladesh, being on the frontline of climate change, is attending this year’s climate conference aiming to resolve five important issues together with the least developed countries, and countries that are most endangered and vulnerable due to climate change.
Speaking to UNB ahead of the climate conference, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin laid out the five key issues that are on Bangladesh’s agenda this year.
“The Bangladesh delegation will play an important role on behalf of the least developed countries and the countries most endangered and vulnerable due to climate change in various issue-based discussions at the COP conference,” said the minister.
He said Bangladesh has set a target to work together to settle five important issues in this year’s conference.
First global stocktake
The first issue on Bangladesh’s agenda is related to the ‘first global stocktake’ which is at the centrestage of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).
The global stocktake is a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they’re collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement – and where they’re not.
Bangladesh seeks clear steps, including the evaluation of the progress of activities in line with the 1.5 degree Celsius target, future ambitions and concrete milestones from the global stocktake.
Loss and damage fund
The term loss and damage refers to the way that countries, particularly ones most vulnerable to climate change, are being affected by the climate crisis – the losses and damages that they have suffered.
The United Nations explains it as: “Loss and damage arising from the adverse effects of climate change can include those related to extreme weather events but also slow onset events, such as sea level rise, increasing temperatures, ocean acidification, glacial retreat and related impacts, salinisation, land and forest degradation, loss of biodiversity and desertification.”
According to Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Bangladesh is seeking operationalization of the 'Loss and Damage Fund' in COP28 and fixing its 'detailed arrangement' with the aim of addressing climate change-induced loss and damage in the more vulnerable developing countries.
Global Goal on Adaptation
The Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) is a collective commitment under Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement aimed at “enhancing [the world’s] adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.”
The GGA is meant to serve as a unifying framework that can drive political action and finance for adaptation on the same scale as mitigation.
In this year's climate conference, Bangladesh seeks to work together with member states to create and formulate the framework for the 'Global Goal on Adaptation'.
Along with other countries that are vulnerable to climate change, Bangladesh will stress member states to strengthen their 2030 mitigation targets outlined in their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to bring them in line with the 1.5 Celsius temperature target and increase funding to LDC countries to implement the NDC.
$100b in climate financing
One other key issue on Dhaka’s agenda concerns climate financing.
According to the UN, climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangladesh, with other developing countries, will work on ensuring $100 billion per year in climate financing from the developed countries for the countries that are most affected by climate change.
Besides, Bangladesh will also work together with other member states to finalise the definition of climate finance.
Doubling adaptation funding
One of the key agendas of this year’s climate conference is to double the adaptation funding.
The Adaptation Fund finances projects and programmes that help vulnerable communities in developing countries adapt to climate change. Initiatives are based on country needs, views and priorities.
Bangladesh will echo the need for doubling the adaptation funding in this year’s conference, according to Minister Shahab Uddin.
Dhaka will also work on achieving significant progress in the discussion of "New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance" aiming to facilitate climate financing after 2025.
The country aims to launch the National Adaptation Plan (2023-2050) this year.
The environment minister said a position paper has already been prepared with the views of the country's eminent climate experts and concerned ministries and agencies to properly present Bangladesh's position at the COP summit.
“Like the previous COP, Bangladesh has taken initiatives to set up a pavilion of 152 square metres and organise various side events here,” said Minister Shahab Uddin.
Dr Farhina Ahmed, secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, told UNB that Bangladesh will organise 24 sideline programs including 13 seminars at its pavilion at the conference.
“As a leader of developing countries, Bangladesh will highlight the impact of climate change in other countries. Bangladesh will also hold a press conference at the venue of the conference before the Resumed high-level segment of the COP-28 conference,” said secretary Farhina.
The 28th World Climate Change Conference will conclude on December 12.
As part of this, the high-level segment of the conference World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) will be held from December 1 to 2, then again from December 8 to 9, the technical negotiation from November 30 to December 11 and the closing session on December 12.
The Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin will lead the Bangladesh delegation to the conference.
He will be accompanied by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Hasan Mahmud, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Habibun Nahar; Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Climate Change and Environment and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury, senior officials of various ministries and agencies concerned and prominent climate experts of the country.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Saima Wazed, daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the elected director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) South-East Asia region, are scheduled to attend the event.