PM for ‘concerted global action’ to combat COVID-19 challenges
Published: 04:20 PM, 23 September 2020
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, File Photo
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a “concerted global action” to effectively address the crisis arising out from the climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our climate emergency and Covid-19 are global threats. Both were predictable, and we could have - should have - done much more to minimize the risks. But now that they are upon us, the best way to respond, surely, is through concerted international action,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), made the call in an article published in leading British daily The Guardian on Tuesday.
She wrote in the article:
One-third of my country was underwater last month. The heaviest rains in almost a decade began and have still not abated. More than 1.5 million Bangladeshis are displaced; tens of thousands of hectares of paddy fields have been washed away. Millions of my compatriots will need food aid this year.
Calamities, alas, never strike alone. The floods, which come in the wake of widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan in May, are making it more difficult to contain the coronavirus. More than 2.4 million people had already been moved from the destructive path of the storm without delivering them into the even greater danger of COVID-19.
Yet while the infection and death rates have been contained, concerns remain until a foolproof safeguard is acquired. Economic lockdowns have hit our textile industry and exports and forced hundreds of thousands of our international migrant workers to return home, with the vast majority remaining unemployed.
Like many other climate-vulnerable nations across the globe, Bangladesh is trying to save lives, shore up healthcare systems, and cushion the economic shock for millions of people, all while avoiding fiscal collapse.
The G20 countries are responsible for about 80% of total global emissions, while the bottom 100 countries only account for 3.5%. The world cannot successfully tackle the climate challenge without significant action from everyone.
The 2015 Paris agreement is still our best chance to contain global warming and limit its most pernicious effects.
To date, 189 countries have ratified a treaty that commits them to collectively cut emissions to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to try to limit the rise to 1.5C if possible.