You are on page 1of 24


The implications of Paris agreement for Bangladesh ............................................................................................. 2

ENVIRONMENT - Paris Agreement and the Bangladesh Perspective ..................................................................... 4
COP21: What's next for Bangladesh? ...................................................................................................................... 9
POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE .............................................................................................................................. 10
Paris climate deal and adaptive social protection ................................................................................................ 11
Promises or Rhetoric: Climate change and SDG .................................................................................................... 12
ENVIRONMENT - Save Rivers, Save Bangladesh.................................................................................................... 14
The inside story of the Paris Agreement ............................................................................................................... 16
WHY CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION MATTERS FOR BANGLADESH .................................................................... 18
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina gets Champions of the Earth award .................................................................... 19
AGREEING TO SAVE THE PLANET ........................................................................................................................... 21

The implications of Paris agreement for Bangladesh

M. Asaduzzaman - 12:00 AM, February 04, 2016

A lot has already been written and stated about the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but little about how san LDC
such as Bangladesh may benefit from it. The general problems of investment under climate change more particularly
the country's development prospects and choices have received only limited attention at best. This is important given
the apparent limited effectiveness of the Paris Agreement for climate change and the aspiration of the country to be
a low middle income country in a few years and a fully developed one by a quarter of century from now. What this
aspiration means is that the process of growth needs to be as fast as possible which would have been difficult under
climate change anyway but now has become probably more uncertain than before for the limitations of the Paris
At present the rate of growth of the economy is more or less 6.5%. This has to be higher in the near future say to
around 8% or so for the economy to pick up sufficiently for poverty eradication, generate surplus for investment in
agriculture, industry, infrastructure and services as well as for supporting health and education for human skills to be
developed as drivers of growth and better quality of life, an increased sense of well-being and desirable development
outcomes. To understand what choices Bangladesh may have in near and longer term future, it is necessary to
understand what the Paris Agreement is and what it implies for future action.
The French Revolution that was not
The reaction to Paris Agreement has been basically two extremes of euphoria and desperation because of the
compromises that has been done. When there is no clear winner or loser, any agreement among nations has to be a
compromise. So has been the case with the Paris Agreement. Question is were the compromises those of principles
or sheer short-sightedness and cold feet on the part of the Parties as well as what it has really achieved and what not
and what still remains to be done. There are short and long run views on these issues and there are also different
perspectives from the LDCs, the big developing countries and the developed world. All such views and perspectives
differ from one another between groups and more importantly between countries due to national circumstances (read
politics) as well as readiness and capacity to take difficult decisions and implement them. Let us make it a bit clearer.

First the views from the side of the detractors of the Agreement. And this has to do with the "failure" to take the bull
by the horn, so to speak, of the fundamental task of very substantial and time-bound global reduction in emission of
green house gases (GHGs) that is called for to limit the rise in temperature by 2100 well below 2 degrees celsius, not
to speak of the shadowy target of 1.5 degrees. Despite 20 previous annual meetings of the Conference of Parties
(COP) preceding the Paris Climate talks, this eluded the global community because of some time irreconcilable and/or
acrimonious differences among nations and groups of nations regarding the responsibility of each and the "fair" share
of burden that they should bear. For that matter there was no unanimous view of what constitutes "fare" share.
Yet, many may have hoped that this time there would perhaps be a second "French Revolution". The first French
Revolution was a beacon for political freedom from tyranny of a select few while the second one, it was hoped, will
become an example of global cooperation freeing the humanity from the life-threatening curse of climate change.
Unfortunately, a predominant view is that the second revolution did not materialise, at least not for now. And this
was because the major players in the game, the developed countries and the big emitters among the developing
countries acted as what in Bengali we call gyan papi (committing a sin knowing fully well that they are doing).
All Parties knew that the mitigation efforts mentioned in the Paris Agreement is not enough to stem the tide of the
continued rise in global temperature. This has been clearly stated in the COP decisions taken along with the Paris
Agreement which itself was a part of the COP decision. As pointed out by COP, all the Intended Nationally Determined
Contributions (INDCs) which are but no more than promises of countries to cut down the level GHG emission over
time, would leave a gap of some 40 gigatons of carbon emission to be reduced over and above the sum of the promises
if the desired targets of limiting temperature rise as stated earlier are to materialise.
Worse than this shortfall is the almost open secret that all Parties are complicit in it. Those among the developing
countries, particularly the big emitters among them (China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico) who till recently had
been frothing in the mouth about historical responsibility of developed country parties had dropped the idea which
had generally been accepted by the developed ones. The developed ones in turn had dropped their demand of
reduction of current rate of emission from the large developing country emitters. The marriage of convenience
between the two groups may allow both to happily live thereafter, if not forever, at least for the time being. The
complicity had gone so far as to even at the last minute under pressure from the USA, a critical sentence in the Paris
Agreement had been changed. All throughout the negotiation process, it had been an article of faith that the
developed country Party countries shall take the lead in absolute reduction of emission. This was retained in the initial
final text of the Paris Agreement. However, at the insistence of USA, the word shall was replaced with should
under the fig-leaf explanation by the COP President (i.e. French Foreign Minister) that it was a typing error thus at one
stroke making it voluntary rather than mandatory. Only then the USA agreed to support it.
The last point that should be mentioned is that the Agreement has little by way of any compliance mechanism. Will
countries be rapped in the knuckle if they do not keep their own promises? Hardly likely. In any case if one does not
have a promise which is mandatory to keep, why bother with a compliance mechanism?
Silver lining in the cloud?
Given the above, the question now is: is everything lost? Will collective human self delusion lead Nature to unleash
all its fury threatening human civilisation that we know of or are there enough safeguards against such prospects.
While some people argue that the Agreement is a shining example of global cooperation, unfortunately this is as good
as useless in its present form for averting the dangerous rise in temperature.
Yet, is there no silver lining in the cloud? I believe that there is but this is true only in the short run, at most. In its
present form, the Paris Agreement does not guarantee the long run future of the globe. And obviously some would
lose more than others while for some such as the Small Island Developing States it would be a question of physical
existence. Only if the review process that has been called for in the Paris Agreement takes place sooner (say by
2018/19) rather than later (2023) and the emission targets are very substantially ratcheted upwards can there be some
hope of bringing the process on track.
On the plus side, therefore it must be said that that an agreement has been reached despite question marks over the
effectiveness of the promised actions and its legal status (as COP decisions has no legal validity in international law
and Paris Agreement has been adopted under a COP decision), is a landmark event. Possibly the spectre of failure as

in Copenhagen prompted the French not to leave any stone unturned to make a deal whatever be its form or level of
perfection. In any case, while the aim should have been higher which is not so now does not mean that it may not be
so in future. But for that to happen, very hard work and consensus building has to start right from Marrakech and not
waiting for the review to take place 5 years from now. But of course it is easier said than done particularly for an LDC.
The second plus point is that the part on adaptation seems to be more or less workable. And this is what matters for
countries like us at least for the next one decade or so. The minimum floor of financial support has been earmarked
at USD100 billion per year from 2020 onwards.
Areas of intervention and action
First and foremost, there are several immediate things to do, one being the signing of the Agreement if possible next
April with Secretary General of UN overlooking the process. Being among the first nations to sign may generate enough
of good will for the country. Then possibly the Agreement has to be ratified in the Parliament. All these are matters of
form, rather than substance.
The more substantive issue is how Bangladesh may benefit from the Agreement before its LDC status changes which
may not allow it to enjoy certain privileges or exemptions under the Convention or the Paris Agreement several years
from now. Very crudely speaking, this means that Bangladesh must try all means to get as much funds as possible for
adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building. It must be noted that every dollar received
will be watched for its best utilisation ensuring which means that our accounting and auditing system would have to
be of the order of best international practices. Furthermore, the financing will be result-based calling for prompt,
transparent actions with social and environmental safeguards in designing and implementing programmes and
projects. We have only a few years to put our house in order. Now we move to the most difficult issue.
True, climate change will pose a very big problem some of which is already evident on the ground, particularly for
agricultural production and health and hygiene. However, for growth and development one needs a healthy, educated
nation with adequate and efficient infrastructure and for better livelihood of people the industrial manufacturing and
services must flourish. And unless we invest resources for these objectives, the spurt to growth and ultimately
development will remain weak at best. This will mean limited capacity to withstand the adverse impacts of climate
change. So shall we, say if we have USD 500 million, invest that in school for children or for redesign a dyke as
adaptation to storm surges in the coastal belt? The choice is not easy and the future prospects of Bangladesh lies in
what choices it makes. Unfortunately, so far there seems to be little empirical analyses of trades-off in such choice of
investment in a developing country context. And here comes the opportunity for Bangladesh as an LDC.
LDCs are expected to have preferential access to finance for adaptation as well as mitigation, capacity-building and
technology generation and transfer. If Bangladesh can take the advantage for the next 5-10 years that it may remain
an LDC and access funds for much of climate related actions, it may release its domestic resources more for the directly
growth-friendly policies or investment. But for this to happen, again I may repeat we have quite a long way to go. I will
end this paper with a few words related to mitigation.
There are many in this country who always say that mitigation is not our problem. There are two arguments against
it. Despite being a very minor player, any mitigation activity helps as it is the absolute emission which matters to the
natural process. Secondly, as Bangladesh develops and becomes a middle income country, it will have to shoulder
greater burden of mitigation and may have to invest more for this. It would be only wise to learn to do that, especially
while lucrative deals can be till the country remains an LDC.
The writer is Professorial Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

ENVIRONMENT - Paris Agreement and the Bangladesh Perspective

A. Atiq Rahman - 12:00 AM, January 01, 2016
The twenty-first Conference of Parties or CoP21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) came to an end with all the 195 member countries of the planet agreeing to the Paris Agreement after a
long session from November 29 to

December 11, 2015 at Le Bourget in Paris. As the gavel came down on the last and extended session of CoP21, all the
countries and citizens of the world breathed a sigh of relief. Because CoP21 came against the backdrop of two great
failures - the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the CoP15 at Copenhagen in 2009, during which the parties in question could
not come to an agreement. This enhanced the risks for rapid increase in climate change as evidenced from accelerating
extreme weather-related events across the world. The KP had agreed in 1997 on a 5 percent reduction of greenhouse
gases (GHG) with the reference baseline of 1990 by the industrialized countries. Unfortunately, the KP also met with
a total failure as, led by US, several other major emitters including Russia, Canada, Japan and Australia walked out of
the KP causing the collapse of the only GHG reducing global agreement. From the early implementation of KP, the
widely heralded three Kyoto instruments and the emergence of a carbon market resulted in a drastic and disastrous
Thus, there was a lot of skepticism about whether Paris would get an agreement at all. If there was no agreement in
Paris, the planet was destined to experience temperature above 3 degrees centigrade by 2100. This would challenge
the planetary human civilizations, its food, water and livelihood securities as well as increase the likelihood of a drastic
reduction in the number of species and greater acidification of the oceans. All the countries would experience dramatic
rise in extreme environmental conditions and also threaten the possibilities of poverty reduction and the newly
emerging SDGs. Hence the global risks were too high for the economy, development and environment.
US President, within minutes of the conclusion and adoption of the Paris Agreement, congratulated everyone and
termed the success as 'huge'. The US and the umbrella group China, Russia, India, developing country grouping G-77,
the Least Developed Country (LDCs) group, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Africa group- all seemed to
be happy with the outcome. When probed, it appeared that each group found that their issues of concern were
included though their nuances may have been modified.
Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki moon termed the Paris Agreement as a health insurance policy for the planet
and a great success.
Leaders upfront
It is the first time that all the key heads of states and government came up in front in the beginning of the conference.
They laid out their positive expectations and high hopes for the agreement and the need for success. This had created
an atmosphere of a positive outcome.
Focus on the science and risks
All countries and groups realized that the science was very bold and clear. Missing this opportunity would force the
different planetary systems (atmosphere, oceans, biodiversity, social, institutional and human systems) beyond
recovery and everyone would suffer, despite the levels and differences in technological advancement. Furthermore,
some technologies and management systems have already evolved to give several solutions. No country or group
wanted to be held responsible for the failure of the negotiations as the stakes were too high for everyone.
Focus on agreement
The Ministerial (backed by experts and bureaucrats) high level session in the last days had decision makers engaged
and it included many of their respective concerns and issues. There were fudges and compromises but an agreement
and a positive outcome were ensured albeit devoid of the many details and specifics.
Ambitious and purposeful
The focus of innovation was to make the agreement look ambitious and purposeful. Here the key decision makers
using the science and sense of urgency emphasized the key issues of rapid mitigation needs for all countries.
The discussion in the early days was confined within 2 degree centigrade. Soon 2 degree centigrade was made the
ceiling and a more serious and ambitious floor was asserted at 1.5 degree centigrade. It may be noted that in

Copenhagen Bangladesh had placed 1.5 degree centigrade as the preferred objective on behalf of the LDCs and most
vulnerable states.
Wider inclusion
Wider ranging progressive issues were incorporated to include concerns of various groups of Parties. An example was
to include text such as Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when
taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights,
the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities
and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women
and intergenerational equity.
The Agreement, moreover, in other sections included issues of poverty reduction, universal access to sustainable
energy to developing countries and also greater participation of all partners. The agreement also included all the
stakeholders of party and non-party actor with text, such as Agreeing to uphold and promote regional and
international cooperation in order to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate action by all Parties and non-Party
stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other sub national authorities,
local communities and indigenous peoples.
Finance - the bottom line
The Paris Agreement was bold on quantum of finance beyond 2020, where 100 billion US dollars was given as a floor
and to build on it. This was appreciated by developing countries. Though Green Climate Fund was the established
mechanism, how the allocation of fund will be distributed amongst industrialized country parties was not clarified,
who will contribute how much was not decided either.
In the corridors after the agreement, industrialized countries were hoping for funds to come from rich or rapidly
emerging industrializing countries. So who will receive funds was not made specific. Future follow-up was thus left to
future negotiations.
Flexibility, complexity and challenges
This approach was also appealing to many parties to support the Paris Agreement. Obviously such an over-arching and
all-encompassing document will need to have enormous flexibility which the critics may even call contradictory.
Role of Bangladesh
In Cop21, Bangladesh had a team led by the Minister of Environment and Forests which included a team of
parliamentarians. A team of senior government officials and experts worked hard and closely under the leadership of
the Secretary, Environment and Forests. Dr. Q. K. Ahmed was the coordinator of the expert group for the negotiators.
There was also a large presence of scientists, think tanks, civil society organizations, NGOs, private sector and media
from Bangladesh in Paris. Government of Bangladesh had a country booth and the civil society networks had their own
booth. Both these areas became useful meeting places as well as areas of rapid exchange of ideas, information and
The Bangladesh delegates worked well together focusing on issues of their concerns and interacted well within G77,
LDC, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) groups. Besides, both the Government and civil societies were well
engaged in several side events and many bilateral meetings and negotiations.
The Bangladesh civil society groups presented side events on Bangladesh grassroots people's perceptions and
expectations from Paris, loss and damage research, migration issues, health services to vulnerable groups, arranging
press conferences as well as interacting with the Climate Action Network (CAN) and its regional groups and contributed
to ECO, the conference journal. Government of Bangladesh also organized well attended press conferences and
explained their positions on issues and approaches.

One question often asked is What did Bangladesh get out of Paris? Unfortunately, that is the wrong question as
these are global negotiations undertaken in groups. The general interest of the planet predominates and group
interests are attended to. The countries or parties have to ensure their interests are protected and respective issues
get the best outcome the global decisions can accommodate.
It is for sure, that there is tremendous goodwill for Bangladesh across the board because of the intense and multiple
vulnerabilities of Bangladesh, its efforts during and outside the CoP process, its leadership and innovative roles in
various Government and non-Government groups, its scientific research and output and its institutional mechanisms
and actions at home. Bangladesh has been mentioned in several seminars as the Adaptation Capital of the world. Its
mitigation actions, particularly millions of poor households with solar home systems have also been well recognized.
Bangladesh leadership in adaptation, particularly community based adaptation is well known to many participating
delegates, practitioners and scientists. These were evident in different forums in CoP21.
Follow-up on Paris Agreement
The Paris agreement will give rise to a large number of activities in many sectors such as finance, mitigation,
adaptation, capacity building, disaster management, governance, planning monitoring and evaluation, agriculture and
food, energy, water, forestry, infrastructure, health, fisheries, coastal, ecosystem services, transport, land, local
government, human rights, gender integration, regional cooperation, to mention a few. It will need a huge amount of
expertise as well as a specific institution and dedicated human resources. Many of these issues are going to be longterm activities (5-15 years and more), while initially some short-term activities (1-2 years) may emerge as follow-up to
the Paris Agreement.
Several senior officers have emerged as experts in the Ministries of Environment and Forest, disaster management,
foreign affairs and starting to develop expertise in finance (ERD) and planning and integrating in infrastructural and
social issues. Recent training and capacity building initiatives in the country have exposed another large group of
government officials and experts to climate change issues. Beyond that and often in collaboration with the
government, a few independent thinks tanks, research organizations and individuals have developed a reputation of
being world leaders.
But there is a need to develop a much larger number of experts and disciplines of expertise to address the forthcoming
challenges. Climate change is no more a sub-set of environment. It encompasses many issues of environment,
development, foreign affairs, energy, social science, law, technologies and private sector delivery systems. There has
long been a discussion in some government, civil society and planning sectors to set up a new Ministry of Climate
Change in Bangladesh. This would follow many other countries which have already developed such initiatives. This
would attend to the large and emerging issues of climate change and also enable the country to prepare itself for
much of the new finances coming under climate change. Further, this would address many technology and market
issues that emanate out of Paris Agreement initiatives.
As a start, the officials and experts who have already been trained and exposed to climate change issues could be
brought together to be the core of such a new Ministry of Climate Change.
If a softer approach is preferred by the policy makers, a high powered National Climate Change Commission could be
set up under the leadership of the Prime Minister to consider the right approach, time frame and integration of
agencies to enable the formation of a Ministry of Climate Change or any other name it deems appropriate.
Achieving Bangladesh 2021 vision and SDGs
To achieve the vision of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and rich country by 2041, it is crucial that
Bangladesh is capable of integrating all aspects of climate change into its planning and delivery of services to the
citizens and ecosystems. In an emerging SDG world, this would be a progressive and major step for Bangladesh to
achieve its sustainable development goals.

For this to be efficient there is an absolute need to strengthen the Ministry of Environment and Forests with
appropriate expertise to address the red (high pollution and industrial management, legal and implementation issues,
etc.) brown (medium pollution, agriculture, land, social management, etc.) green (conservation, afforestation,
ecosystem services, etc.) and blue (water: internal and marine, static and flow, quality and safety issues).
Climate change initiatives
To take leadership role in a post-Paris Agreement world Bangladesh could and should take a number of activities that
will build capacity, prepare for significant fund mobilization and move rapidly forward to the sustainable development
pathway with reduction of climate risks. There is a need for an exercise regarding what individual agencies of the
government, research community, civil society and private sector can do. But we can always start with a few key
activities. Let us remember that Bangladesh has very little obligation. Bangladesh must choose the path which meets
its development aspirations as well as the need for climate impact reduction and/or contribute to low carbon growth
pathways. A set of actions that can be immediately activated as a priority is given below. These are only a set of
examples that can be initiated urgently on a priority basis. These include activities on both adaptation and mitigation.
Implementing BCCSAP
Set up task forces to stimulate the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategies and Action Plan (BCCSAP) on each of the six
(1) Food Security, Social Protection and Health;
(2) Comprehensive Disaster Management;
(3) Infrastructure Development;
(4) Research and Knowledge Management;
(5) Mitigation and low-carbon development; and
(6) Capacity Building and Institutional Development
Light for all by Photovoltaic Lanterns: With the advancement of the Solar Home Systems, now it is urgent to ensure
that every household in Bangladesh can be provided with solar lanterns. The social transformation potential of this is
enormous and is also cost-effective. It is definitely cheaper than the subsidies given to urban electricity users. Thus
"light for all" initiative can bring light and cell phone charging facilities to reach all remote areas and households of the
country. This would be the greatest contribution to safety net, poverty alleviation and literacy for all as priotised in
the Seventh Five-Year Plan.
Safe drinking water and sanitation for all climate affected population: This is a major challenge but will reach a key
objective for sustainable development and public health of the affected population in vulnerable areas impacted by
climate change including cyclones, floods and droughts.
Improved cooking stoves for all: A campaign and programme can be launched with the support of local government,
NGOs, schools and educational institutions to provide improved cooking stoves for all. This will reduce GHG, improve
health, particularly of women, and reduce deforestation simultaneously.
Pilot phase for Local Adaptation Programme of Action (LAPA): Following the National Adaptation Programme of Action
(NAPA), Local level (upazila or union level) Adaptation Programme of Action (LAPA) can be initiated in selected climate
affected ecosystems. Once generic lessons have been learned this could be used for country-wide programme on
Responding to Paris Agreement, SDGs and sustainable development
As we enter the SDG world the demand on both the Ministry of Environment and Forests and a future Ministry of
Climate Change will be enormous and most essential for the sustainable development of Bangladesh. Paris Agreement,

however weak, is likely to generate new activities and significant finances. Bangladesh must be prepared institutionally
and methodologically. The capacity to deliver must be developed for the new and global standards and opportunities
as they emerge. There is no question that in terms of the future resource mobilisation, climate change will be one of
the most important global instruments for major investment portfolio. For Bangladesh to achieve its vision, it must
demonstrate both intention and capacity to mainstream and integrate climate change in its sustainable development
path where poverty alleviation, delivery of climate services at the local level and integrating climate concerns in all
infrastructural and social issues would be central. We must catch this bus and lead it to a progressive journey for
sustainable development pathway for Bangladesh and demonstrate leadership in achieving the SDGs and the vision
for Bangladesh.
The writer is Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for IPCC and
Champion of the Earth Award 2008.

COP21: What's next for Bangladesh?

Facing rising seas, Bangladesh confronts the worst consequences of climate change
Robert Watkins - 12:00 AM, December 19, 2015
As global leaders reached an agreement at the conclusion of COP21, international cooperation for addressing climate
change has solidified at a crucial moment in time. Although the negotiations were watched with trepidation by many
who feared that the countries would not be able to come to an agreement, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has delivered a landmark accord. With the endorsement of 196
countries, the Paris Agreement becomes the first universal climate deal and a crucial instrument to limit and mitigate
the negative impacts of climate change.
One of the defining challenges of our time, climate change is increasingly felt by countries and communities the world
over. The effects of climate change are already hitting those most vulnerable. In Bangladesh, climate shocks and
stresses are already damaging assets, undermining livelihoods, and displacing people from their homes. The
Agreement reached in Paris marks a turning point on how the world will address climate change.
The Agreement sets the world on a pathway toward limiting temperature rise to less than 2 degrees, with an eye on
the benefits of achieving the goal of 1.5. The Paris Agreement is also an ambitious, dynamic, and universal agreement.
It covers all countries developed and developing and all emissions, and is designed to last.
The Paris Agreement sends a message to the world that countries are serious about addressing climate change. Where
the Kyoto Protocol only required certain countries to cut emissions, the Paris Agreement requires all countries to take
action, while recognising their differing situations and circumstances. Responsible for taking action on both mitigation
and adaptation, countries have officially submitted their own nationally determined climate action plans, including
cutting emissions. They now have an obligation to implement these plans, and if they do, it will bend the curve
downward in the projected global temperature rise. The individual contributions of states all over the world will be
crucial to highly exposed countries like Bangladesh, where climate change effects, like rising sea levels and changing
cyclone patterns, are already felt.
The Agreement not only formalises the process of developing national plans for addressing climate change, it provides
a binding requirement to assess and review progress on these plans at least every five years. This mechanism will
require countries to continuously upgrade their commitments and ensure that there will be no backtracking. The
Agreement will be a key instrument for mobilising global partnerships. To this end, developing countries have assumed
increasing responsibility to address climate change in line with their capabilities, while developed countries have
agreed to lead in scaling up technology support and capacity building and mobilising finance. This includes the
continuation of the existing $100 billion per year flow of funds for climate finance beyond 2020, with the intention of
improving it further by 2025. For Bangladesh, which is already mobilising access to funds from the Green Climate fund
to build the resilience of communities along the coasts and in other climatic hotspots, this is good news indeed.
Bangladesh has already intensified its efforts to integrate the Sustainable Development goals into its seventh five year
plan, with Goal 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts as a key national concern. The

agreement reached this week calls for the support of the UN agencies to countries in implementation. In line with this,
the UN will continue to support the Government of Bangladesh with high quality policy advice and programme
support. The Paris Agreement confirms the necessity for Bangladesh to both take action to adapt to keep lives and
livelihoods safe in a changing climate, and to adopt a low-emission economy to continue growing as a prosperous
Now is the time for markets to invest in the low-emission economy and to move away from fossil fuels in order to
minimise the loss and damage from climate change. The Paris Agreement represents a unique opportunity for
Bangladesh and the rest of the world to move towards a global transformation that will help to safeguard our planet
for generations to come.
The writer is the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.


Climate change: Changing narratives
Saleemul Huq - 12:00 AM, March 24, 2015
Over the last two decades the topic of climate change has gone through an evolution in thinking both at the global
level as well as in Bangladesh.
Global narrative
would broadly categorise the global climate change narrative as having gone through two phases already and being
on the cusp of entering the third phase.
The first phase, from 1990 to 2000, started with the publication of the first and second assessment reports of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC). The problem was conceived as being one of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and
hence the solution was to reduce those emissions through mitigation actions.
The second phase started from 2001 with the third assessment report of the IPCC highlighting the fact that no amount
of mitigation can now prevent some level of adverse impacts and that those adverse impacts will fall mainly on poor
communities in all countries, but primarily in poor countries. This led to the new climate change response of
adaptation and in the UNFCCC process at the 7th Conference of Parties (COP7) in Marrakech, Morocco the creation of
the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Fund to support National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA).
The third phase is only just beginning and can be traced to COP19 held in Warsaw, Poland in December 2013 where
the UNFCCC set up the new Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage with its own Executive
Committee and work programme. This phase is still in its infancy and will grow bigger in time as the inevitable losses
and damages from climate change become self-evident. This phase of Loss and Damage is a recognition that our global
efforts to mitigate and then adapt have been inadequate so far and hence loss and damage is now inevitable.
National level
As with the evolution of the global narrative on climate change, the narrative in Bangladesh has also evolved, but in a
different way. I will characterise the three phases of the changing narrative in Bangladesh as the narratives of
yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Yesterday's narrative
Bangladesh was one of the first LDCs to complete its NAPA and then went on to develop the Bangladesh Climate
Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP), which it then implemented with funding both from the government as well
as from donors. Thus the leaders and people of Bangladesh had already taken the topic of climate change far more
seriously than any other country in the world and started to take steps to tackle the problem.
Today's narrative

So while yesterday's narrative was one of emphasising the vulnerability of Bangladesh to adverse impacts of climate
change, today's narrative has shifted to emphasising the pro-active response of all stakeholders in the country in
tackling climate change. Hence, I would argue that while yesterday's narrative emphasised the vulnerability of the
country, today's narrative emphasises the resilience of the country. Thus we can rightly claim to be transforming
ourselves from one of the most vulnerable countries to one of the most adaptive.
Tomorrow's narrative
So what will be tomorrow's narrative for climate change in Bangladesh? I would argue that tomorrow we can become
an exporter of knowledge on how to tackle climate change. As the rest of the world begins to face the adverse effects
of climate change they will look to places and people who know how to tackle the problem. Bangladesh can capitalise
on its experience by inviting people from all over the world, both poor as well as rich countries, to come and share our
knowledge gained from experience. We can also export that knowledge to other countries, both rich as well as poor.
Let me conclude by saying (even if this may sound farfetched) Bangladesh can turn a problem into an opportunity by
capitalising on its experience of tackling climate change by exporting that knowledge to other countries. So the
government may wish to consider setting up an export cell on Adaptation to Climate Change through which
delegations from other countries can be welcomed to Bangladesh and experts from Bangladesh can be sent to other
countries (including to the United States of America the next time they have a hurricane or flood!).
The writer is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh.

Paris climate deal and adaptive social protection

Mahfuz Kabir - 12:00 AM, January 02, 2016
THE Paris deal on climate change has already created substantial optimism across the world. It is mainly due to three
high notes of the deal, at least two of which are tangible in nature. First, all the parties will try to reduce greenhouse
gas (GHG) emission, nonwithstanding whether a country is a big emitter or not. Second, it endorsed a commitment
for zero net GHG emissions in the second half of this century. Third, the parties will pursue efforts to limit the
temperature rise to 1.5C. Realisation of world leaders and vested corporate interest about the concerted need for
addressing climate change is perhaps the biggest achievement so far in the context of COP21. Nevertheless, the
ongoing pace of the climate change process is unlikely to alter with these important three steps, and countries like
Bangladesh would continue to remain significantly vulnerable to disasters in the coming decades.
Indeed, the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP, 2009) recognises that the country ranks
fifth among ten countries in the world most vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. To address climate adversities, it
also identifies the expenditure and revenue or finance sides of climate fiscal funds, and suggests developing a
transparent and sustainable climate fiscal policy. The budgetary policy framework serves as a key element of the
Climate Fiscal Framework (CFF) in developing, favourable circumstances for climate fiscal policy without hampering
the existing public financing mechanism. Thus, CFF is commensurate with the BCCSAP, which adopts an integrated
approach to climate change, disaster risk reduction and social protection, as these are intrinsically interwoven with
covariate shocks. The social protection programmes are therefore imperative to have built-in mechanisms to factor in
the adversities of climate change, since those adversely affect the poor and climate-vulnerable communities through
various channels in the risk-vulnerability chain.
The Bangladesh Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR) prepared in 2012, and the CFF prepared
in 2014, were considered in identifying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as one of the Champions of the Earth. These
documents worked out the expenditures on social protection directly related to climate change, while the others
they referred to as livelihoods were assigned different climate change weights. Unfortunately, the documents do
not systematically demonstrate which social protection and livelihoods programmes were identified as climate
change relevant at national level, although they ascertain and analyse expenditures relevant to climate change at a
local level. The major programmes relevant to climate change that they mention are Food for Work, and Test Relief
and Employment Generation Programme for the Ultra-Poor (formerly known as '100-day Employment Scheme').
Covariate shocks from climate-induced disasters have been implicitly embedded in the country's recently published
National Social Security Strategy (NSSS). The NSSS also recognises the significance of reducing risks and vulnerabilities

emanating from climate change and disasters. Thus, there is an implicit overlapping between climate change
interventions along with related expenditures and the social protection (security) programmes. Since every
programme mentioned in the NSSS are unlikely to address the adversities and reducing discomforts of climate change,
there is a need to derive the profound implications of adaptive social protection for both CFF and NSSS. Quite
surprisingly, the NSSS and CFF documents did not clearly define Adaptive Social Protection for mobilising climate
change financing.
Therefore, a well-defined Adaptive Social Protection programme should be at the heart for allocating funds for social
protection programmes. The CPEIR reveals that the definition of climate change expenditures usually excludes social
security programmes that make it difficult to work out the public expenditure for climate change in the context of
social protection. Indeed, adaptive social protection is an integrated approach to encompass climate change, disaster
risk reduction and social protection. However, neither the CFF nor the proposed NSSS have come up with a clearly
defined selection of adaptive social protection programmes. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a robust and
acceptable set of criteria to identify the programmes that can contribute to the development of resilience to the
impacts of climate change. An appropriate definition of Adaptive Social Protection is important to fathom the actual
climate change expenditure in Bangladesh.
NSSS and CFF do not fully overlap in the government's current approach to classify social protection programmes. The
term social protection is also debated in the literature, and perceptions do not completely match with the practices
and policy documents. In Bangladesh, social safety net programmes (SSNPs) are divided into social protection and
social empowerment programmes. In the budget 2015-16, the total allocation for SSNPs is Tk. 375.46 billion, in which
the allocation for social protection is Tk. 269.58 billion (72 percent of total SSNP budget). However, as high as 42
percent of the total allocation for social protection is dedicated to Pension for Retired Government Employees and
their Families, although social protection programmes are perceived to be designed mainly to protect the poorest,
marginalised and most vulnerable groups including climate-vulnerable populations. It also reduces the scope of
allocation for adaptive social protection as majority of the programmes are climate change insensitive.
Some social empowerment and development programmes, such as the emergency cyclone recovery and restoration
programme, the water supply and sanitation project in cyclone prone area, and coastal climate resilient infrastructure
improvement project, are helpful in generating employment and protecting livelihoods of the climate and disaster
vulnerable populations, but they are excluded from the social protection programmes. Therefore, a robust working
definition of adaptive social protection is needed, which has to be accepted by policymakers, practitioners, civil
society, academia, and media through debates and discussions. It will help segregate the programmes related to
climate change, social protection and livelihood programmes.
The Paris deal reminds us that the onus is on our part to reduce emissions and financially protect the millions of
climate-vulnerable populations, many of whom engage in carbon sequestrating ecosystem services and ozonedepleting activities. It is, thus, high time that adaptive social protection is introduced in Bangladesh.
The writer is Senior Research Fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).

Promises or Rhetoric: Climate change and SDG

Anu Muhammad - 12:00 AM, December 05, 2015
The Paris Climate Change Conference is a continuity of lengthy efforts to form international consensus on actions to
keep global warming to a minimum level. Before the conference began, a record number of people attended the
People's Climate Change March in different cities around the world on November 27, except in Paris where the
government banned climate march and put climate activists under house arrest. Activists in return termed President
Hollande a war and climate criminal.
Since 1992, the United Nations negotiators have regularly held meetings to reach an effective deal on climate change.
In 1997, world leaders signed the Kyoto Protocol that assigned targets to the developed world, but the then US
president never sent the deal to the Senate. Moreover, large polluters like China and India could not be brought at the
negotiation table, thus the deal without action from the real polluters became meaningless.

In 2009, world leaders drafted a new pact in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto deal, but failed to achieve the
unanimous consent required for legal enforcement. It was little more than a voluntary agreement. In 2014, the
United States and China, world's two largest carbon polluters, came to an agreement that the US would cut emissions
up to 28 percent from levels of 2005, and by 2017, China would begin to limit industrial emissions.
With these experiences New York Times noted, If the talks in Paris fail as they did in two previous attempts to
achieve such a deal then nations will continue on a trajectory that scientists say locks the planet into a future of
rising sea levels, more frequent floods, worsening droughts, food and water shortages, destructive hurricanes and
other catastrophic events (Nov 30, 2015). On the other hand, The Economist has confidently forecasted, no
ambitious global deal will be signed in Paris, although whatever document emerges from the conference will no doubt
be hailed as significant progress (November 30, 2015).
However, prior to the conference, delegates could come to an agreement that the level of warming is likely to cause
food shortages and widespread extinctions of plant and animal life. Therefore, global temperatures must not be
allowed to rise by more than 2C. An Australian expert on climate change, Dr Gideon Polya, noted that worldwide 7
million people die from air pollution each year, this including 10,000 Australian deaths from pollutants from carbon
fuel burning and 75,000 people dying from the burning of Australian coal exports. About 0.5 million people die from
climate change annually in a world in which 17 million people die annually from deprivation (Countercurrents,
November 29, 2015).
Dr Poyla correctly insisted that there must be a rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (about 4
times lower in actual true cost than obscenely-subsidised coal burning-based power), to energy efficiency, to public
transport, needs-based production and re-afforestation. He also correctly defined fossil fuel exploiters who pollute
the common atmosphere and ocean of all human beings as climate criminals.
Few months before the climate conference, world leaders met at the United Nations Headquarters from September
25-27, 2015 to finalise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In a declaration of the leaders, we find a series of
best wishes. They said, We envisage a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable
economic growth and decent work for all. A world in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural
resources from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas - are sustainable. Do all of these
leaders really believe in this declaration? If yes then what actions will they be adopting to change their country's energy
consumption patterns? They also aspired to create a world in which democracy, good governance and the rule of law
as well as an enabling environment at national and international levels, are essential for sustainable development,
including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication
of poverty and hunger. They also pledged to create an environment in which development and the application of
technology are climate-sensitive, biodiversity friendly and resilient. One in which humanity lives in harmony with
nature and in which wildlife and other living species are protected. Forget about others, does the Bangladesh
government really mean to follow this pledge?
The fundamental question is whether these sentences reflect viable promises under the existing development
paradigm. As economist Partha Dashgupta pointed out, contemporary models of economic growth and development
regard nature to be a fixed, indestructible factor of production. It is wrong. Nature is a mosaic of degradable assets
(The Nature of Economic Development and the Economic Development of Nature, Economic & Political Weekly,
December 21, 2013). We find many experts and profiteers advocating prioritising GDP growth in development, as they
see the consideration of nature and environment as a luxury for poor countries. The opposite is actually true, since
poor people and poor countries cannot afford to lose forever the natural environmental resources they have.
If we look at Bangladesh, despite endorsing SDGs and remaining active in climate change negotiations, the country is
adding to the areas of unsustainable development (USD). USD in Bangladesh includes: several flood control and
irrigation projects that are killing rivers; the Rampal coal fired power plant that will possibly destroy the Sundarbans;
the construction boom through encroachment of agri lands, wet lands and canals; loss of wet land, agri land, forest,
river and privatisation of common property and; grabbing of hills, rivers and open space in the name of development
projects. The external factors adding to the risk include global warming, dams and barrage including Farakka,
Tipaimukh and river linking project in India and dams in China. How can Bangladesh save its face in SDG or climate
conferences while retaining and prioritising projects of mass destruction?

In fact, without changing the development paradigm, these expensive conferences, goals and agreements will only
result in failure. Development must not be reduced to 'growth', and 'construction'. Ecological balance, quality of air
and water must be taken into consideration when selecting any project. A cost-benefit analysis must include social
and environmental costs. Fertile lands and river flow cannot be compromised with. People's ownership and
participation should dominate the selection process of any project involving fertile land, water and common property.
In every phase, consultation with the public and their consent must be preconditions. Transparency and accountability
must be ensured. Common property cannot be privatised.
I agree with Naomi Klein when she said that climate change could become a catalysing force for positive change".
She proposed a list for the change that requires public action. We would like to make some additions to the list and
focus on reclaiming people's ownership and authority over their lives and policymaking processes, while also investing
in starving public infrastructure like mass transit and affordable housing, to take back ownership of essential services
like energy and water... (This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs the Climate, NY, 2014).
The writer is member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports.

ENVIRONMENT - Save Rivers, Save Bangladesh

Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus of BRAC University, and water resource and climate change specialist
Why are the rivers dying?
Rivers in the country, mainly the small and medium sized ones, are being filled up from bank-side; land is developed
for various purposes, mainly to build shops, construction yards, depot of sand, cement or lumber, homesteads, etc.
Such processes of encroachment of the river are controlled mostly by the politically powerful.

From many such rivers, water is pumped out during the lean season, either to cultivate paddy, onions, or oil seeds on
the bed of the rivers. Water is also pumped to irrigate nearby plots, drying up the rivers. This has been done all over
the country.
Although we get some paddy out of the process, the natural production of freshwater fish is totally destroyed. These
rivers remain dry till April and May - the breeding period of fish. Therefore, fish migration/spawning is obstructed. The
same happens to the beels and jheels. Many wetlands in Tangail, Sirajganj, Pabna, Faridpur, and Gopalganj, once rich
habitats of aquatic life, are now devoid of fish.
Untreated liquid industrial effluents are being discharged into rivers indiscriminately, especially around urban areas,
leaving these rivers biologically dead as the level of dissolved oxygen -- a must for the survival of fish and other aquatic
animals -- becomes very low.
Impact of encroachment and drying up of rivers
Encroachment has become a serious issue. All across the country, rivers have been converted into a series of ponds
through the construction of cross-bunds. Thus, many free-flowing rivers have now become a series of stagnant water
Rivers follow some rules of nature. If the width of a river is reduced by encroachment, it may have an impact on the
discharge it normally carries; natural volume of flow may reduce; as a response, the depth of the river lessens, thus
permanently shrinking the river in terms of size and flow volume. If the river is a part of a network of streams, the flow
will be diverted to some other channel. If the river is unconnected to any network, then floods will be generated in
case of slightly high rainfall.
Many of our flood control projects have contributed to the dying of rivers and wetlands. The connectivity between the
rivers, wetlands and floodplains has been jeopardised because of improper functioning of the sluices or regulators.
We need these appurtenant structures for effective flood management. They should be designed and operated in such
a way that the wetlands remain connected to river networks and the ecosystem remains unharmed.

When we talk about rivers, we always think about mega-rivers like the Brahmaputra or the Padma which have huge
flows. Large rivers are left undisturbed by locals, as the height through which water is to be pumped is rather high.
Local people use 'low lift pumps', a technology that is readily available, that leads to the drying up of very small rivers.
Industrial pollution and the quality of water
Most of our industries do not have Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) though operation of such ETPs has been made
mandatory by law. If these ETPs are properly installed and operated, industrial pollution could be contained. But who
is going to stop the state which is itself a big polluter? Unlike every major city in the world, the storm sewer line and
the domestic sewer line are all connected in Dhaka. Therefore, I would say that WASA is the major polluter of
When it flows naturally, every river would have dissolved oxygen that helps fish and other aquatic animals to survive.
If the quantum of dissolved oxygen goes lower than 4 ppt, aquatic life cannot survive. In Buriganga, the dissolved
oxygen level comes down to as low as zero in the dry season and therefore, no fish can survive at that time of the year.
When the level of pollution gets very high in Buriganga and Shitalakhya, the treatment of water (in order to turn it into
drinking water) becomes very difficult.
Can Buriganga be cleaned?
I am often asked if the water quality of Buriganga can be restored. My answer is always in the affirmative. One hundred
years ago, the condition of River Tames or the Clyde or the Rhine was as bad as the condition of the Buriganga today.
But through proper enforcement of the law, it was possible to clean the effluents and bring the rivers to normal
condition. We have the necessary laws, rules and regulations. We have the responsibility for the implementation of
such laws, rules and regulations. If the government so desires, the Buriganga may be cleaned up in ten years. This time
may be allowed to make arrangements for all remedial measures.
Only dredging is not the solution
Simply dredging does not bear a long-term or sustainable solution. We must remember that a river does not carry only
water; it also carries sediments. And there is an intricate relationship among discharge, sediment load and channel
geometry as well as channel pattern. If a river carries a huge amount of sediment, dredging will not provide a durable
solution, as incoming sediment in the following monsoons will fill up the dredged channel.
Apparently, the government plans to take up some major projects for dredging big rivers like the Jamuna. Over the
last few years, huge funds have been spent on dredging the Jamuna near Sirajganj. We should first evaluate the success
of such projects before embarking on any new major works.
However, if we go for properly planned and designed 'river management' projects that include bank revetment, 'river
training infrastructures' and plans to dredge in appropriate reaches, then we may find the right solutions. Again, this
exercise should be carried out in a phased manner so as to enable the 'observe and learn' approach. Dredging of small
rivers, however, poses much less of a challenge.
Laws for river protection
Article 18(A) of our Constitution clearly states: The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment
and to preserve and safeguard the natural resources, bio-diversity, wetlands, forests and wild life for the present and
future citizens. The State has enacted a number of laws including Bangladesh Water Act 2013, National River
Protection Commission Act, 2013, and The Environment Conservation Act, 1995 (upgraded in 2010) which have
provisions for the protection of the environment, and control and mitigation of environmental pollution. In 1997, the
State had produced the rules and regulations for environment conservation and promulgated the Environmental
Quality Standard. Bangladesh is among the few countries that have a separate court on environment. So if a river is
polluted or encroached upon, those affected by it should be able go to court seeking remedial measures. However, I
am not sure if the legal procedures are fully operational.
Political commitment is a must
We have the appropriate constitutional provisions and necessary laws for taking action against encroachers and
polluters. I believe that it is possible to do so if the administration is fully committed to save our rivers. The

governments of India and China are cleaning up their rivers; they are using modern technology such as Remote Sensing
and Satellite Monitoring to monitor the conditions of the rivers. Developed countries are using proper monitoring
mechanisms of maintaining the acceptable level of river water quality. I believe that we have the capacity to restore
our rivers.
"Save Buriganga, Save Dhaka"
Raising public awareness is of utmost importance. When The Daily Star raised the slogan, Save Buriganga, Save
Dhaka, we suggested that it be changed to Save Rivers, Save Bangladesh. This was before the insertion of Article
18(A) in our Constitution.
I believe that if we raise our voice for the right cause and tackle problems with technically sustainable solutions,
policymakers will eventually respond.

The inside story of the Paris Agreement

Saleemul Huq - 12:00 AM, December 15, 2015
On the night of December 12, in the French city of Paris, almost exactly a month after the horrific terrorist attacks
there, the leaders of nearly two hundred countries of the world adopted the historic Paris Agreement on Climate
Change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will replace the Kyoto
Protocol from now on. This was actually the second time such an agreement was attempted with the first time in
Copenhagen six year years ending in failure. While there are many reasons for the success of the Paris Agreement (as
success has many fathers), having been involved intimately from the inside I will give my views of main elements of
this success.
Achievements of the Paris Agreement
While it is not perfect and does not solve the climate change problem overnight, the Paris Agreement is nevertheless
a major success, in my view for two overarching reasons. The first one is that, unlike in Kyoto, where only the
developed countries undertook to reduce their emissions of their greenhouse gases that cause climate change, this
time all countries are included in efforts to reduce emissions. This is important because while many years ago the
United States was the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, now China has overtaken the US as the world's biggest
emitter. Hence, it is essential that all countries also accept that they should try to reduce their emission wherever they
can. The vehicles for doing this are called the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are really
just Climate Change Plans. In Paris, nearly 200 countries submitted their plans, thus making the Paris Agreement a
historic first for including all countries rather than just the developed countries as was the case with the Kyoto
The second big achievement in Paris has to do with the long-term temperature goal, which was a major concern of the
poorest and most vulnerable countries who wanted the goal to be changed from 2C to 1.5C. Although the difference
of 0.5C may not seem much, it actually means that millions of people in the most vulnerable countries will be severely
affected. Going in to the Paris talks, the vulnerable countries advocated for this change in the long term temperature
goal, but were opposed by rich and powerful countries, like the US, the European Union and emerging powers like
China and India. By the end of the Paris talks, we were able to persuade all countries to agree to change the goal to
1.5C, despite their initial strong opposition.
The French Presidency
President of France Francois Hollande made an early, strategic decision to learn from the mistakes of the failure in
Copenhagen and avoid those mistakes. Under the leadership of the Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, France set up a
team of Climate Envoys, with Laurence Tubiana as the Chief Climate Envoy. These climate envoys visited almost all the
countries in the world, in many cases, the president or the foreign minister also accompanied them. For example, a
few weeks before the climate talks started, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited Bangladesh for talks with
the Prime Minister and senior officials of Bangladesh. Thus the French, unlike the Danes six years ago, reached out to
all countries to get their views in advance of the talks.

The second lesson was to invite the heads of governments to attend the Convention in the beginning, give their
speeches and then leave. World leaders had attended the Convention in Copenhagen during the final days, when
negotiations had not been completed, and thus ended up being more disruptive than constructive. This time around,
100 heads of government came to Paris, presented uplifting speeches that gave an excellent start to the negotiations,
and then left the negotiators to finish the task.
The third and final lesson that the French adopted was a consultative style of working with the negotiators and
ministers on the text of the agreement. Typically in these negotiations, which last for two weeks, the last few nights
can go on all night, which leads to frayed tempers and lack of spirit of compromise, which is essential for any
agreement. COP President Laurent Fabius would insist on everyone taking breaks and coming back in the morning
fresh and ready to negotiate in a spirit of common endeavour rather than just sticking to, and endlessly repeating,
their own individual "red lines".
All of this is not to say that the negotiations in Paris were easy by any means, as it is only natural that nearly 200
countries will all have their own perspectives, and bringing consensus is never an easy task. Nevertheless, the COP
President and his able team from France, along with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, and her team
were able to keep every delegation in the picture, consulting regularly and updating everyone on progress.
Hence the fact that we actually adopted an agreement in Paris was a significant achievement in its own right, and
credit quite rightly belongs to both the French COP presidency as well as the UNFCCC secretariat.
Long-term Goal
The story of the long-term goal has a long history. It began before the Copenhagen climate summit six years ago, with
three groups of vulnerable countries, namely the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to which Bangladesh belongs, the
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Africa Group agreeing amongst themselves, at the level of the
negotiators, that they would ask for a long term temperature goal of 1.5Celcius . Then, just before the Copenhagen
Climate Summit, the then President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, convened a meeting of selected leaders from
these three groups in his country to form a leadership group of vulnerable countries called the Climate Vulnerable
Forum (CVF) .
At the Climate Summit in Copenhagen in 2009, President Nasheed was the only head of government from the
vulnerable countries who was in the huddle with other leaders in the last hours of the Summit and tried very hard to
defend the 1.5C goal. But he lost in the end because both the US and China wanted a 2 Degrees goal. However, he
managed to insert a clause in the Copenhagen Agreement that there would be a review of the long-term goal between
2013 and 2015. This review has indeed taken place under what is known as the Structured Expert Dialogue (SED) on
the long-term goal and has produced its report in June 2015.
The report of the SED said that while a 2 Degrees long-term goal would indeed be able to protect most of the countries
and people on the planet, it would not protect all of them. Also that those who would not be protected by a 2 Degrees
goal are the poorest and most vulnerable people living in the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries. The
SED report was the basis on which the vulnerable countries wanted the long-term goal to be reconsidered in Paris.
In the meantime, the Climate Vulnerable Forum had continued, as President Tong of Kiribati took over leadership from
the Maldives; then Prime Minister of Bangladesh took over from Kiribati and then handed it over to Costa Rica who
passed it on to the current chair, President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines. The CVF is governed by a Troika system
with the current chair along with two previous chairs being in charge. Thus, the current troika consists of Philippines,
Costa Rica and Bangladesh. A few weeks before the Paris Climate Summit started, the Philippines, along with the
troika members, called a meeting of high officials of the CVF countries to chart out a Manila-Paris Declaration with an
emphasis on pushing for the long-term temperature goal to be changed from 2C to 1.5C.
On the first day of the Paris Climate Summit, President Aquino presided over a meeting of the CVF countries, where
ministers from Costa Rica and Bangladesh also urged for the 1.5C goal. This was then supported by civil society groups
and got a lot of media attention.
However, while 105 countries were by then supporting the 1.5 Degrees goal, the rich countries and powerful
developing countries still opposed it and pushed back by refusing to adopt the SED report which recommended the

change in the goal. The anti-1.5 Degrees goal faced the most opposition from Saudi Arabia, who openly opposed it. In
the end, thanks to a combination of skilled diplomacy behind closed doors with negotiators and ministers of other
countries and mobilising public pressure, one by one, the countries opposing the 1.5 Degrees goal were persuaded to
change their minds and support the goal. In the end even Saudi Arabia was persuaded to agree. Thus, the Paris
Agreement now includes the long-term temperature goal of 1.5 Degrees a historic achievement for poor and
vulnerable countries in securing the support of the rich and large developing countries.
The Role of Bangladesh
The Bangladesh delegation to Paris was headed by the Minister for Environment and Forest at the political level and
the Secretary of the same ministry at the negotiators level. The delegation also had a set of experienced experts led
by Dr Q.K. Ahmed, who followed specific tracks of the negotiations. The Bangladesh negotiating team was an
important part of the LDC Group to which it belongs.
In addition to the negotiating team, there were also a number of members of Parliament as well as senior officials who
were in Paris to assist the negotiators.
There were also quite a number of civil society and members of media from Bangladesh at the talks.
Although I have dubbed the Paris Agreement a success, it is by no means perfect nor can it solve the climate change
problem on its own. For that to happen, every country needs to implement the pledges they have made and in fact,
enhance their pledges over time, as we are still headed towards a temperature rise of between 2 to 3C. The challenge
ahead is to ensure that the 1.5 C goal is not just symbolic but becomes a reality.
The writer is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh.


Why climate change mitigation matters for Bangladesh
Saleemul Huq - 12:00 AM, November 08, 2014
BANGLADESH'S leaders and people are perhaps amongst the most aware about the problems and risks of human
induced climate change. The prime minister and many ministers are well aware of the dangers of climate change to
Bangladesh, and all ministries are now taking actions to tackle climate change impacts in their own ways. This is equally
true for our parliamentarians, our research community as well as NGOs, and certainly for the media. Perhaps the main
stakeholder group that has not taken much interest, so far, is the private sector. Indeed, Bangladesh has not one but
two major climate change funds that have already disbursed around half a billion US Dollars towards tackling climate
change around the country.
This awareness of climate change is largely because of Bangladesh's vulnerability to climate change. Most of the
actions have been undertaken to support adaptation measures to manage the risks of adverse impacts due to climate
change, with only a few measures to reduce emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) by mitigation. While this has indeed
been the correct approach for Bangladesh's actions at home, where adaptation is much more important than
mitigation, I will argue here that in a global sense mitigation is in fact far more important than adaptation and further
advocate that Bangladesh should redouble its efforts to get a global agreement that enhances mitigation efforts by all
countries around the world.
Synthesis Report of IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just recently released the Synthesis Report of its Fifth
Assessment, which brings together the messages from Working Groups One (on climate science), Working Group Two
(on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation) and Working Group Three (on responses), and completed the set of four
reports of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment. The message from the scientific community is loud and clear, that GHG
emissions (and hence also global temperatures) continue to rise and if not brought down considerably will reach nearly
4 degrees Centigrade by the end of the century. This will lead to globally catastrophic levels of adverse climate impacts,
to which not just Bangladesh but even the rich world will find hard to adapt.

Hence, the IPCC, quite rightly, advised that emission of GHGs needs to be phased out completely by the end of this
century, if we wish to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Centigrade.
Mitigation versus adaptation
The reason for this is that the lags in the global atmospheric and ocean systems mean that emission of GHG -- for
example by burning fossil fuels like coal, petrol and natural gas -- into the atmosphere today will not actually cause
the atmosphere to warm for many years. Hence, there is already almost 1 degree of global warming coming over the
next two decades due to past emissions of GHGs, and is now inevitable and unavoidable. What is still avoidable are
even larger temperature rises, which can be prevented only by mitigation in the longer term. In other words, while
adaptation is necessary and must be done in the short to medium term, there is a limit to what can be achieved by
adaptation, as it will never bring down the adverse impacts to zero. Only mitigation can bring down adverse impacts
of GHGs to zero. Hence, by not emitting a ton of GHG the adverse impacts of that ton have been effectively brought
down to zero. But, with even the most effective adaptation measures, there will always be some residual loss and
Hence, while Bangladesh is right to focus more on adaptation actions domestically, we also need to make much more
efforts to persuade the rest of the world to take stronger mitigation actions than they are doing now.
Climate change negotiations
The main arena where the global talks to combat climate change take place is the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is about to hold its 20th Conference of Parties (COP20) in Lima, Peru,
in a few weeks time. This is expected to start the final round of talks toward a new globally binding agreement to be
reached at COP21 to be held in Paris, France in December 2015. I have argued before that Bangladesh needs to follow
the example of many developed as well as developing countries and appoint a full-time high level special climate
change envoy to engage in these (and other) global talks in a concerted and strategic manner to ensure that we actually
achieve an ambitious agreement in Pairs next year. It is vital to Bangladesh's own longer term interests that we do so.
Planning the future of Bangladesh
The government of Bangladesh is currently engaged in preparing its seventh Five Year Plan for the period from 2015
to 2019, and also preparing a one hundred year perspective plan called the Delta Plan with assistance of the
Netherlands government. I would argue that while adapting to climate change at home should indeed be the priority
in the next five year plan, as far the longer term is concerned it is far more important that the global temperatures be
kept to 2 degrees, which requires action by other countries not by Bangladesh at home, (as no amount of adaptation
at home will be enough to tackle a global temperature rise of four degrees Centigrade). However, Bangladesh can, and
should, play a key role in persuading other countries, both developed as well as developing, to take the mitigation
actions that will enable Bangladesh's domestic adaptation actions to be effective in the longer term.
Hence, investment in climate change diplomacy to persuade the rest of the world to take mitigation actions is as much
a priority for Bangladesh as adaptation at home.
The writer is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina gets Champions of the Earth award

Staff Correspondent - 12:00 AM, September 15, 2015
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been named as one of the winners of the UN's highest environmental accolade -Champions of the Earth -- in recognition of Bangladesh's far-reaching initiatives to address climate change, says the
United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).
With a population of more than 159 million, Bangladesh is one of the world's most populated countries. It is also one
of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the
country's history, but they have intensified in recent years.

Serving as the PM of Bangladesh, one of the world's least developed countries, Hasina has proved that investing in
climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development, says a release of Unep.
The Champions of the Earth award in the Policy Leadership category, which the PM will accept at a ceremony in New
York on September 27, recognises Bangladesh's first-off-the-block initiatives under Hasina's government to prepare
the ecologically fragile country for the challenges it faces from climate change.
Unep Executive Director Achim Steiner said, Through a number of forward-looking policy initiatives and investments,
Bangladesh has placed confronting the challenge of climate change at the core of its development. These initiatives,
from climate change adaptation measures to ecosystem preservation legislation, mean that current and future
generations of Bangladeshis are better prepared to address climate change risks and reverse the impacts of
environmental degradation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated leadership and vision in both making climate change an issue of
national priority and advocating for an ambitious global response. As an early adopter and advocate of climate change
adaptation policy, she continues to be an example to follow as world leaders seek to take action on climate change as
part of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate conference in December, he added.
The award cites the progressive Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009, which made Bangladesh
the first developing country to frame such a coordinated action plan. Bangladesh is also the first country to set up its
own Climate Change Trust Fund supported by nearly $300 million of domestic resources from 2009-2012.
The government currently earmarks 6-7 per cent of its annual budget -- some $1 billion -- on climate change
adaptation, with only 25 per cent of this coming from international donors. A Climate Change Fiscal Framework is also
in the works to enable the government to track the demand and supply of climate change funds. For the first time,
climate change is no longer merely an additional demand, it is central to the country's development prospects, said
the Unep statement.
In addition, under her leadership, the Bangladesh Constitution was amended in 2011 to include a constitutional
directive to the State to protect the environment and natural resources for current and future generations. Prioritised
in the constitution along with wetlands and wildlife, the forestry policies initiative by the premier has provided a
natural barrier from some extreme weather events and the country's forests cover has increased by almost 10 percent.
Moving beyond physical and capital investment in climate change adaptation, the government is implementing a wide
range of measures to help citizens prepare for an increasingly unpredictable future. These include new health services
dealing with waterborne diseases linked to increased floods, training community groups about early warning systems
and promoting climate-friendly agricultural technologies.
As part of climate change mitigation, the government is giving high priority to clean and renewable energy, including
one of the world's largest solar home energy systems, covering 10 percent of the off-grid population, and reducing
emissions from brick-making, one of the largest sources of stationary emissions in the country.
In a major initiative to protect environment, human health and livelihoods, legislation is being enacted to step up
regulation of the coastal polluting from the ship-breaking industry that employs a huge workforce in hazardous
As one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, Bangladesh understands the importance of addressing the
impact of climate change. The country is already experiencing its detrimental effects, and it is often the poorest and
marginalised who feel it most, said Robert Watkins, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh.
From 1990 to 2008 Bangladesh averaged annual losses of 1.8 percent of the country's GDP due to natural disasters,
yet it is important to remember that addressing the impact of climate change is more than just a question of
economics. High tides in coastal areas of the country are rising faster than the global average, which leads to loss of
livelihoods and displacement.
By 2050 it is estimated that one in every seven people in Bangladesh is likely to be displaced by climate change, and
they are also likely to move to urban centres already burdened with meeting the needs of a dense population.

I congratulate the government of Bangladesh for being proactive in tackling climate change as a priority of the
country. It is also a clarion call for the global community to take action today, and to realise that climate change is not
a problem of the future, it is already happening in our lifetime, said Watkins.
The annual Champions of the Earth award is the highest environmental accolade that the United Nations can confer
upon outstanding individuals and organisations. Previous laureates of this inclusive award range from leaders of
nations to grassroots activists -- all visionaries whose leadership and actions drive the world ever closer to its
aspirations of environmental sustainability and a life of dignity for all. To date, the Champions of the Earth has
recognised 67 laureates in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society.
The other winners named so far are the National Geographic Society (Science and Innovation); Brazilian cosmetics firm
Natura (Entrepreneurial Vision); and South Africa's Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (Inspiration and Action). Other
winners will be announced throughout September.
The awards will be handed out at a Gala Ceremony at the close of the Sustainable Development Goals summit, on
September 27.

Set at the mouth of three great rivers that flow through the low-lying land to pour their waters into the Bay of Bengal,
and because of its special geographical feature, Bangladesh is afflicted by a multitude of natural hazards. The Global
Climate Risk Index 2010, covering the period 19902008, assesses Bangladesh as the most vulnerable country to
extreme climate events; it estimates that, on an average, 8,241 people died each year in Bangladesh while the cost of
damage was US $ 1,189 million per year and loss of GDP was 1.8 percent during the period. According to the Ministry
of Environment and Forests, the country currently loses 1.5 percent of its GDP due to increased frequency and intensity
of natural disasters as a result of climate change.
Nevertheless, Bangladesh has proven to be remarkably resilient, developing well beyond initial expectations, and has
made very good progress with poverty reduction. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita has grown from around
US$100 in 1972 to US$1,314 in 2015, and the country crossed the World Bank threshold for the lower-middle-income
group in 2015.
While natural disasters are unstoppable, Bangladesh is a pioneer in disaster risk reduction led by the government,
partnered with different development agencies, NGOs and communities. The country has now become a world leader
in disaster preparedness. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks at the Third UN World Conference on
Disaster Risk Reduction mentioned the achievements of Bangladesh adding that the country sets an example on
disaster preparedness and management in the world."
The paradigm shift in disaster management began in the 1990s when the Bangladesh government shifted the focus
away from the traditional reactive approach of relief and rehabilitation activities to more proactive approaches that
included hazard identification and mitigation, community preparedness and integrated response efforts.


Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad - 12:00 AM, January 09, 2016
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015,
was the biggest event of its kind. Never before had so many heads of government or state gathered to reach an
agreement to combat climate change. It is a significant step forward, after the bewildering frustration in Copenhagen
(COP 15, 2009).
COPs or Conferences of the Parties are held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) or simply the Convention. Originally, the purpose of the Convention was focused on mitigation or reduction
of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a view to controlling global warming and climate change risks. The Kyoto
Protocol, adopted in COP 3 in 1997, held in Kyoto, Japan was concerned with only GHG emission. Currently, all 195
countries of the world are Parties to the Convention and, therefore, participated in COP 21.

Eventually, COP 13, held in Bali, Indonesia in 2007 adopted a broader framework that included a vision relating to
global warming, mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology transfer, and capacity building. It was also agreed in
COP 13 that a legally binding agreement to address climate change and its impacts, collectively by all countries and by
individual countries, would be formulated and adopted in COP 15 in 2009. But, as mentioned above, COP 15 held in
Copenhagen did not produce any agreement. The outcome was the Copenhagen Accord. But, a number of key
stipulations related to vision, mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer, that have found place in the
Paris Agreement were stated in the Accord.
Let me briefly discuss some of the key aspects of the Paris Agreement.
Reduce Global Warming
In Copenhagen, at the insistence of Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries, the Copenhagen Accord called for
looking at the possibilities to restrict the temperature rise to 1.5C by the end of the century above the pre-industrial
level. After a lot of hard negotiations, even wrangling, it was finally agreed and included in the Paris Agreement that
global warming would be restricted to well below 2C and efforts would be made to limit it to 1.5C by the end of this
century above the pre-industrial level. This shared vision is certainly a major victory for the whole world, particularly
for vulnerable countries like Bangladesh.
Restricting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission
The emission of GHGs, the cause of global warming, must be restricted to levels consistent with the global warming
vision. But, the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted, as agreed, before COP 21 by almost
all the countries does not depict a hopeful picture. In fact, an analysis of all INDCs with respect to emission reduction
by 2030 shows that even if the proposed reductions are all fully implemented a global warming of at least 2.7C or
even well over 3C is in prospect. However, the implementation of the Agreement is to be reviewed every five years
and it is stated in the Paris Agreement that one of its key purposes is for the Parties to increase their emission ambitions
to bring the total global emission in line with the global warming vision (of well below 2C and possibly 1.5C). The
ultimate outcome will also depend on how the emission reduction regime plays out in the period beyond 2030.
Appropriate technology development and deployment is critical in this context. By and large, the state of technology
regime remains well below the required levels.
It may be mentioned that, even if the global warming can be restricted to 1.5C, millions of people will still be affected
by climate change, especially in vulnerable countries including Bangladesh. However, it may be possible to minimise
the impacts through effective adaptation. If the global warming rises by 2C or higher, the impacts will be increasingly
larger and adaptation more difficult. With global warming of 3C or more, Planet Earth will face a climatic catastrophe,
from which redemption may be extremely intractable.
As for Bangladesh, a least developed and highly climate change vulnerable country, it has little to contribute to the
global GHG emission reduction. In fact, the per capita annual emission in Bangladesh is way lower than that of
developed countries. Still, Bangladesh has proposed in its INDC that it will unconditionally reduce emissions in three
major sectors namely, transport, energy, and industry by 5 percent by 2030 with reference to business as usual (BAU)
scenario; and, if financial and technological support is available from the international community, the reduction can
be 15 percent. It has also been stated in its INDC that Bangladesh will not cross the average of the developing countries
in terms of annual per capita GHG emission. The Bangladesh INDC has also highlighted the importance of adaptation
for the country and indicated certain key aspects of its adaptation needs along with financial implications.

Adapting According to Ground Realities

On adaptation, the Paris Agreement contains proposed actions along lines Bangladesh and similar other countries
have been asking for. It is acknowledged that adaptation actions would be country-driven, gender-sensitive,
participatory, and transparent, with special focus on particularly vulnerable population groups, communities, and
ecosystems. Sharing information, good practices, experiences, and lessons learnt; strengthening institutional
arrangements; and creating a robust scientific knowledge base will be emphasised. And developing country parties
will be assisted in a manner consistent with their respective needs and circumstances and to encourage good practices.

It has also been agreed that continuous and enhanced international support for adaptation should be provided to the
developing country parties.
What will happen in practice, however, remains to be seen. Moreover, non-committal 'should' has been used instead
of assuring 'shall' regarding enhanced financing of adaptation. Yet, the Paris Agreement does provide a basis for future
negotiations and development of cooperation frameworks so as to seek appropriate levels of financial and technology
transfer for the adaptation actions identified and developed under national adaptation plans (NAPs) to be prepared
by the developing country parties.
As for Bangladesh and similar other countries, an adaptation framework is there in the Paris Agreement. It is necessary
for the country to prepare its NAP and mobilise required resources to mount its adaptation actions.
Climate Change Induced Displacement
Increasing numbers of people are being displaced as natural disasters are increasing both in frequency and in terms of
devastation. It is indeed disappointing that, despite persistent efforts by Bangladeshi negotiators and those of the
other concerned countries, this issue could not be included in the main Agreement. It has, however, been mentioned
in the CoP Decision part of the Agreement (Para 50) that existing bodies and expert groups under the Convention and
relevant organisations and expert bodies outside the Convention would prepare recommendations for integrated
approaches to advert, minimise, and address displacement due to the impacts of climate change. This is a weak
recognition of a fast worsening problem for many vulnerable countries including Bangladesh but it provides a window
of opportunity for future negotiations.
Minimising Loss and Damage
The importance of adverting, minimising, and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of
climate change has been emphasised. But there are no proposed concrete actions on this issue in the Agreement.
In this context, let me make the point that strengthened adaptation should minimise loss and damage. Estimating loss
and damage may take a very long time, making it difficult to secure international support. But, adaptation is more
urgent to avert and minimise the suffering of people caused by climate change. In this context, a National Adaptation
Plan, properly developed, is likely to be an effective vehicle for receiving international adaptation support.
Financial Commitments
Developed country parties shall fulfill their existing obligation under the Convention to provide financial resources to
assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation. However, after this definitive
statement, prevarication has crept in. For example, it is stated that 'developed country Parties should continue to take
the lead in mobilising climate finance (i.e. financial support by developed countries for climate actions in developing
countries) for a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through
a variety of action, including supporting country-driven strategies, and taking into account the needs and priorities of
developing country Parties. Such mobilisation of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous

It is also stated that a balance between adaptation and mitigation should be aimed at in the case of scaled-up financial
resources, 'taking into account country-driven strategies, and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties,
especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have significant capacity
constraints, such as the least developed countries and small island developing states, considering the need for public
and grant-based resources for adaptation.'
Notice that the language used in the above two paragraphs is rather woolly in addition to the use of non-committal
'should' instead of assuring 'shall'. It is, however, stated that the developed country Parties shall provide transparent
and consistent information on support provided to developing country Parties biannually in accordance with the
modalities, produces and guidelines that will be developed by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting to
the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement subscribes to the principle of climate finance to be new, additional and predictable, although
indirectly by owning up the principles, including this one, enshrined in the Convention. But, contrarily, the Green
Climate Fund (GCF), the main institutional mechanism for channeling climate finance in future is offering loans, albeit
soft, and, in the case of grants for projects, 50 percent co-financing by the countries concerned. We have been raising
our voice against this move in every opportunity coming our way.
As to the level of climate finance, the much vaunted US$100 billion to be provided annually from 2020 has been
recognised in the Decision part of the Agreement. This amount is to be mobilised from a variety of sources, with a
large part expected to come from private sector. But, while the private sector may invest in mitigation projects such
as renewable energy, in which there are profits to be made, it will not finance adaptation activities, often in povertystricken and remote areas and without prospects for profit making. And countries like Bangladesh need adaptation
the most. However, it is good that the Paris Agreement recognises the importance of climate finance from public
sources for adaptation in particularly vulnerable countries. But, the language used is rather convoluted so that the
implementation could be shrouded by uncertainties.
The Legal Nature of the Paris Agreement
The fully legally binding agreement under UNFCCC is a Protocol and the Paris Agreement is not a Protocol. However,
Article 18 of the Paris Agreement states that 3 years after entering into the Agreement by ratifying or accepting or
approving it, a country can withdraw from it by giving written notification to the Depositary. In fact, Japan, Canada,
Russia, and New Zealand have withdrawn from Kyoto Protocol without sanction. Inclusion of some sanctions against
withdrawal would have given the Agreement a stronger sense of purpose.
Not a Bad Deal, After All
Despite all the weaknesses, COP 21 is a success story as it provides the world a window of opportunity for all the
Parties to work together to save Planet Earth and hence, humanity. And a critical precondition for achieving that is
strong political will and commitment on the part of the nations of the world and actions implemented by them
accordingly, particularly those countries that have the responsibility, ability, and resources. The question is: will they
or can they do what it takes to defeat this looming unprecedented crisis?
The writer is a leading Bangladeshi economist, development thinker and activist and chairman of Palli KarmaSahayak Foundation (PKSF).