|A family in southern Bangladesh clears debris of home ravaged by a cyclone|
Parliamentarians from across the globe launched a new network to advocate policies that ensure justice for those affected by climate change in a declaration on Friday at the closure of a three-day international meeting in Dhaka last week.
The legislators were invited to join the network, which aims to focus its resources to help the people most vulnerable to climate change throughout the world.
Parliamentarians from Asia, Africa, North and South America attended the March 15-17 meeting, which received support from the UN Development Program and the Netherlands government.
Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League parliamentarian Saber Hossain Chowdhury who heads Bangladesh’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, read out the Dhaka Parliamentary Declaration.
The new platform will promote strategic alliances of parliaments and parliamentarians, working through cross-party groups and parliamentary networks, sharing knowledge, information and best practices, Saber Hossain Chowdhury said.
“We recognize that deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required well before 2020 if there is to be any hope of limiting the global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, and raise the level of ambition to aim for a 1.5 degree [rise],” he said.
The parliamentarians who attended the meeting urged governments worldwide to honor their commitments to provide new and additional funding for vulnerable countries, including US$30 billion immediately as fast-start funding for the Green Climate Fund, and $100 billion per year by 2020.
They committed to collaborate across party-political boundaries to work for communities most vulnerable to climate change threats and establish parliamentary committees to monitor and oversee climate-related policies.
The members of the parliament would foster dialogue with the civil society, constituents, NGOs, businesses and involve the public in the policy-making process, the declaration stated.
During is keynote address, Bangladesh Parliament’s Speaker Advocate Abdul Hamid said, “We need to make sure that the poor and vulnerable in our countries, often removed from international negotiations, find a shoulder in us to represent them.”
Stating that climate change causes poverty, affects human security and has a negative impact on global economy, he said, “We parliamentarians have an important role to play. We have to ensure that there is a policy shift. We have to rise to the challenge and act united.”
UNDP Resident Representative Robert Juhkam called upon the MPs to rise above traditional politics and seek out common interests, forge alliances that work across parties and use cross-party caucuses to educate and empower MPs to operate more effectively.
Inaugurating the meeting on March 14, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for people-oriented mitigation and adaptation programs to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.
However, she regretted that conferences of the parties (COP) in Copenhagen, COP 16 in Cancun and COP 17 in Durban rekindled hopes and saw some progress, but not enough to be enthusiastic.
Sheikh Hasina said there is no clarity on how the global community would raise funds in the period between 2013 and 2020 for making the `Green Climate Fund’ operational.
“We also do not see any mechanism for transfer of green technology to the developing countries for mitigation and adaptation purposes,” she said, expecting that the developed countries help with adequate finance, technology and capacity development support.
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