29 December 2022, Center for Participatory Research and Development – CPRD and other allied CSOs organized a Round Table Discussion titled “Climate Diplomacy at COP 27: Whether shines are overshadowed by corporate interest” was held at Azimur Rahman Conference Hall, The Daily Star Center, Dhaka at 10:00 am. In the round table discussion Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoEFCC was present as the Chief Guest, Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha CPRD’s Chief Executive facilitated the entire discussion and presented the keynote of the event. The core discussion was contributed by a number of government officials, climate change and policy experts, and CSO leaders, including Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF; Mr. Md. Ziaul Haque, Director of Department of Environment; Mr. Dharitri Kumar Sarkar, Deputy Secretary, MoEFCC; Ms. Khodeja Sultana Lopa, Country Director of Diakonia Bangladesh; Ms. Rabeya Begum, Executive Director of SDS. The Round table discussion intends to develop a critical understanding on the outcomes of COP 27, and also to provide a strategic overview how the interest of fossil-fuels giants patronized by a few countries dominated human rights and justice principles in climate negotiation.
Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP, in his presidential address, thanked the 23 organizers of the event and said that, “you already have organized such programs before the COP-27 which showed CSOs insights and their collective commitment.” It is important for us to coordinate the government’s initiatives with these events of CSOs. The hope with which we started the COPs has not been fully materialized yet and it is frustrating to some extent. However, we cannot come out of this framework because there is no other alternate way. We have to stay within the process and try to reflect our demands in the decisions of the COP. Besides the global initiatives to combat climate change, we also have to take into account the internal situations of our country. We can’t talk about nature-based solutions at global platforms while brickfields and tannery industries keep polluting our country’s environment. It would be double- standard to do so. If we do not consider a holistic approach the situation will not change. We are talking about 1.5 degree Celsius goal but it is impossible to achieve if the current GHG emission trend continues. The current impacts of climate change that Bangladesh is experiencing is due to 1.2 degree Celsius rise in global mean temperature, however the consequences can be 2-4 folds if the temperature rise to 2-2.2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial level. He also said that, in Bangladesh there are two different ministries for disaster management and climate change issues. We know that there is a huge overlap between the work scopes of these two ministries and maintaining coordination between these two ministries is hard. It would be better if Climate change and disaster related issues are handled by a ministry.
As the keynote speaker Md Shamsuddoha said, the developed countries are yet to implement their duties and responsibilities for staving off the climate change. The COP 27 was termed as ‘Implementation COP’. We expected and also raised our voice on behalf of CSOs to the COP 27 that, an official loss and damage mechanism for compensating the climate induced losses and damages potentially affecting different regions and countries should be formed, and also of boosting up the low flow of climate financing which has stemmed from the urgency for reducing the ever-increasing adaptation gap. He also said, while COP 27 was termed as ‘Implementation COP’, its outcome packaged in ‘Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan’ failed to address the yawning gap between climate science and climate. Instead of reaching to a commitment for deeper emission cut coherent to 1.5 Celsius Goal, the COP made a fortune to the fossil fuel, natural gases in particular, and safeguarded interest of the fossil-fuel rich economies.
Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Deputy Manging Director of PKSF in his speech highlighted that we came to understand a lot about COP from today’s discussion. We know that the UN process is slow but there is no alternative way. Rather we have to think about ways to pace it out. We have to be careful about not only the quantity but also the quality of the loss and damage financing.
Mr. Ziaul Haque thanked the organizers at the outset and said that such events act as a bridge between civil society and the government. These types of events must continue. He said that although there is disappointment among many about the 27th Conference of Parties, it would not be right to underestimate the achievements of the conference. The creation of loss and damage finance fund is a great achievement for us.
Mr. Dharitri Kumar Sarkar, Deputy Secretary, MoEFCC emphasized in his speech that in Bangladesh most attention has to be paid to adaptation due to its geographical position. Recently Bangladesh has achieved some remarkable progress in early warning system and we hope that in future there will be more achievement in terms of early warning alongside adaptation. Civil society, policymakers, government and non-government organizations must work together to combat the impacts of climate change. He thanked CPRD as well as the other organizers and asked them to continue such initiatives.
The event was jointly organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, AOSED, Bread for the world, CANSA BD, CARE, CPRD, CCDB, CDP, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, COAST Foundation, Diakonia Bangladesh, DORP, HEKS/EPER, Helvetas, ICCCAD, Islamic Relief, MJF, NETZ, Practical Action, SDS, WaterAid, and YPSA.