A three-day capacity building and strategy workshop titled ‘Voicing CSOs Position towards COP-27 and beyond’ was jointly organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, BRAC, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh -CCDB, Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD), COAST Foundation, Development Organisation of the Rural Poor-DORP, Wateraid Bangladesh from 17-19 August 2022 at BRAC CDM, Savar, Bangladesh. Around thirty representatives from 22 national and international designated NGOs, CSOs, government departments including ActionAid Bangladesh, AOSED, Climate Action Network South Asia, Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD), Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh -CCDB, ChristianAid, Coastal Development Partnership-CDP, Concern Worldwide, COAST Foundation, Diakonia Bangladesh, Development Organisation of the Rural Poor-DORP, European Climate Foundation-ECF, Embassy of Switzerland, HEKS/EPER, Helvetas, International Centre for Climate Change and Development- ICCCAD, Islamic Relief, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), NETZ Partnership for Development and Justice, Practical Action, SDS (Shariatpur Development Society), WaterAid, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) and academicians participated in the workshop. Covering more than a dozen of sessions, the workshop set its goal to build capacity of the professionals on the climate science, changing aftermaths, response and policy inclusion, political dynamics of climate change, global alliance-actions, key role of Paris Agreement objectives, sectorial challenges of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), developing a common understanding and negotiation baseline through a participatory channel by the participants.

Md. Shamsuddhoha, Chief Executive of CPRD, inaugurated the event with a welcome speech where he termed the event as an encouragement for all the attendees in the hall who have been working on climate change, climate policy negotiations, and climate justice. Alluding that the CSOs and NGOs have, as a matter of fact, been working in a scattered and isolated way whereby limiting the ability to obtain the potential output, he urged the CSOs and NGOs to come under a single umbrella and increase own understanding on the technical and political aspects of negotiations and other relevant dynamics to be able to reach, communicate and influence the policy stakeholders for establishing climate justice. The welcome speech was followed by an opening note of Mr. Sanjay Vashist— Director, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), in which he reminisced different past incidents of working together with different organizations in different platforms of climate justice movement, introduced CANSA and its role and functions to the audience, and touched upon the current scenario of global discourse of climate change very briefly. Some other participants and resource persons were connected online. Among them Harjeet Singh- Head, Global Political Strategy Climate Action Network-International (CAN) and Prof. Saleemul Huq— Director, ICCCAD shared their precious remarks on the context of the current global crisis around climate change and put forward suggestions on several important issues to be produced in the upcoming COP. Besides, Ms. Rabeya Begum— Chairperson, Steering Committee, CANSA Bangladesh and Executive Director of SDS— also presented her opinions and expectations about the COP27 to be held this year.

In the first session of Day 1, Mr. Mahmudul Hasan, Research and Advocacy Coordinator of CCDB, facilitated a session on what the attendees expected from the three-day program to follow. The second session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Sanjay Vashist, in which he expounded the impacts of climate change based on the understanding from the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha conducted the next three sessions of the day. In the third session, he discussed the policies and political dynamics around climate change negotiations and portrayed how they have evolved over the years. In the fourth session, he discussed the key elements of the Paris Agreement and what the agreement requires the country parties to do. The fifth session was dedicated to discussion on what were expected from the Glasgow COP and what were actually achieved. The final session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Nakul Sharma, Project Coordinator at CANSA, where he discussed the challenges and prospects of energy transition in south Asia with special focus on Bangladesh. Ms. Nusrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Policy Advisor, Christian Aid, summarized the activities of the Day 1 of the program.

The contents of the 2nd day of the program were designed for CSOs’ capacity building through an interactive session by engaging all the participants in a knowledge-sharing process. The activities of Day 2 commenced with the lectures from Mr. Ziaul Haque, Director, Department of Environment (DoE). In the first session, Mr. Haque presented the key issues and outcomes of COP26 and also discussed the major agenda or issues to be discussed in the COP27 and expectations from the same. In the second session Mr. Haque elaborated on the Global Goal on Mitigation and gaps in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and requirements for making the same compatible with the global goal. The third session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Colin McQuistan, Head of Climate and Resilience, Practical Action, UK. In his session, Mr. Colin explicated the technical issues, processes, and documents (including WIM and Santiago Network) of climate change-induced L&D in the global negotiations and also elaborated on the key debates around these and expectations thereon from the Sharm Al Sheikh COP. Ms. Rushati Das, Program Officer, CANSA, conducted the fourth session of the day where she presented an overview of climate change-induced displacement and migration and expectation about the same from the upcoming COP27. In the final session, Mr. Shamsuddoha presented a brief overview of the policy spaces for human rights violation resulting from climate change-induced hazards. Also in this session, three researchers from CPRD presented the ground stories of L&Ds from three agro-ecological zones of Bangladesh, portraying the scenario of Climate Change-induced human rights violation. The activities of Day 2 ended with the summary of the activities of the day presented by Rukhsar Sultana, Program Officer, ActionAid Bangladesh.

The third day of the program commenced with a rundown of the discussions of the previous two days by Mr. Shamsuddoha, which was followed by a participatory discussion on CSOs position on mitigation (NDCs), climate finance, L&Ds, displacement and migration, human rights for the COP27, which was co-facilitated by Mr. Colin McQuistan, Mr. Sanjay Vashist, and Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha.

In the third session of the final day, four resource persons who have been working in climate change arena for decades presented a summary of the CSOs position and reflection on the same. To be specific, Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadek Ahmed, DGM, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), said that NDCs are mitigation centric and Bangladesh should focus on adaptation as a priority. Expressing grave concern over the scantiness of climate finance, double counting of the same, inappropriate mode (most are loans) and destination (the most vulnerable are not receiving the most) of climate finance, and difficulty in accessing funds, he pointed the importance of a separate window for L&D finance. Professor Mizan R. Khan, Director, ICCAD, mentioned climate finances as an object of political dynamics of neo-liberalism. He also alluded that, climate finances are ignoring the market justice and demanded punitive measures for non-compliance in mobilizing climate finance. He also suggested that the LDCs focus on knowledge power and argumentative power through capacitating the voicing groups especially the youths. Terming Bangladesh as an innocent victim of climate change, Mr. Dharitri Kumar Sarkar, Deputy Secretary, MoEFCC, said, Bangladesh tries to play a pro-active role notwithstanding its low contribution to global warming. Bangladesh government is promoting country-driven and inclusive approach in all its policies and actions to head towards a sustainable development, he added. Mentioning political economy of climate change as very crucial, Mr. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, President, FEJB, stressed that Bangladesh wants a robust mitigation work-program. He also expressed urgency of a precise definition of climate finance and demanded the adaptation finances be solely grants. He said that, position of the global leaders on L&D has changed a bit and it should be capitalized on to make the upcoming COP meaningful. Mr. Chowdhury also underscored research activities as an effective means of increasing the access to development negotiations.

To sum up, in the 3-day workshop, the CSOs together addressed the climate crisis as a ‘systemic failure’ and agreed on putting forward in the next COP an appropriate economic model based on a precise and just political stance for escaping the grim climate crisis. They stressed on actions rather than mere negotiations.

The workshop was wrapped up with concluding remarks from Md. Shamsuddoha of CPRD.

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