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'Climate change and politics the greatest risks today' PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Dr Atiq Rahman, the UN environmental award winner, on Tuesday urged the government, politicians, NGOs and environment activists to join hands for realising adequate compensation from the developed world responsible for victimising low-lying countries like Bangladesh by causing change in the global climate.

Dr Atiq, who was among those who were honoured with United Nations' Environment award — 'Champion of the Earth 2008' — told a press conference in Dhaka that in the future Bangladesh will have to face severe risks like climate change and politics.

Terming politics one of the major risks for Bangladesh, he said, 'Politics can't be run though rhetoric.

Had we a strong leadership, Bangladesh could have made tremendous progress and attained sustainable development.'

'I urge politicians to pledge that they will, in the next five years, ensure enough food daily, having 2,200 calories, for each member of the 30 per cent hardcore poor of Bangladesh who now get below 1,800 calories. Only then will we agree that our politics is moving on the right track,' he said.

Establishing democracy is an emergency for Bangladesh. Good governance and participation of people are the essential preconditions for the democracy, said Dr Atiq, also the executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies.

BCAS organised the press conference at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel to mark the winning of the UN environmental award by Dr Atiq. At the conference Mazharul Alam, a research fellow of the BCAS, presented a paper on the research by Dr Atiq that made him eligible for the award from the Asia Pacific region.

Alam said the BCAS believes in the integration of scientific knowledge and the people's knowledge for ensuring sustainable development. Atiq said the Asia Pacific region would be the ultimate victim of climate change.

'If the sea water level rises by 30 centimetres, 10 to 15 per cent of the area of Bangladesh will go under water, and as a result tens of millions of Bangladeshis will lose their homes and livelihoods. This tremendous catastrophe may occur by 2040 or 2050,' Atiq added. He stressed the need for educating the probable victims of climate change in Bangladesh so that they can acquire the expertise or skill to work abroad.

We have to apprise the developed countries, who are responsible for climate change, of the extremely adverse impacts on Bangladesh and give strong scientific arguments for the need for adequate compensation.

We have to have necessary research to do so, said Atiq.

The government has to take some short- and long-term measures, that include growing coastal forests and constructing more shelters in the vulnerable areas, to face and cope with the impacts of climate change. Research fellows Mujibur Rahman and Diwjen Mallick, and Dr M Yusuf, a director of BCAS, were present at the conference, along with others.

Environmentalist Dr Atiq Rahman was named one of the recipients of the UNEP's 'Champion of the Earth 2008' award.

The names of this year's seven champions were announced on Monday in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. Atiq was given the award for his research on management of the environment and development of natural resources.

The UN Environment Programme has been giving the 'Champions of the Earth' award since 2004.

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