Today, 29 December 2021, Wednesday, at 10:30am, at the Auditorium of BRAC Center located at Mohakhali, Dhaka, a national level stakeholders’ dialogue on identification of the regional challenges to tackle the negative impacts of climate change and inclusion thereof in the National Adaptation Plan was held by Center for Participatory Research and Development- CPRD with support from AOSED, Bread for the World, CCBVO, Diakonia, and SDS. At the dialogue, suggestions, proposals, and data were presented that had been obtained from the local level consultation carried out by CPRD and other partner organizations in three individual regions (coastal region, river-bank erosion prone region, and drought prone region) with special attributes.

Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee, MoEFCC was present as the chief guest at the meeting. Dr. Atik Rahman Executive Director, BCAS was present as special Guests. The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD.  

Speeches were also delivered by, Dhareetree Kumar Sarker , Deputy Secretary, MoFECC , Fazle Rabbi Sadeque  Ahmed, PhD, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF , Mr. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, President, FEJB, A. K. M. Azad Rahman, Programme Specialist-UNDP, Dilruba Haider, Programme Specialist-UN WOMEN, Khodeja Sultana Lopa, Country Director, Diakonia Bangladesh , Gowhar Nayeem Wara , Expert Disaster management . Alongside the representatives of the communities affected by climate change in different areas of the country, representatives of the civil society, government and non-government officers and employees, researchers, and policymakers took part in the meeting.

On behalf of organizers Mr. Shameem Arefin, Executive Director, AOSED presented the climate change vulnerability and adaptation requirement in the South-west Coastal Region of Bangladesh, Mr. Prodip Mardi, Reporting & Documentation Officer, CCBVO presented the climate change vulnerability and adaptation requirement in north-west barind region of Bangladesh and Ms Rabeya Begum, Executive Director, SDS presented the climate change vulnerability and adaptation requirement in river eroded areas of Bangladesh.

In the speech of the chief guest, Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury said, there nothing comparable to the independence of Bangladesh, but to actualize the true desire for independence, Bangladesh needs to ensure sustainable development, and for ensuring sustainable development, there is no alternative to formulating and implementing a good NAP. NAP is also very important for our national life. He said, we prepared many documents in the past too. Now we need a proper appraisal of our previous successes and failures and we must take lessons from our previous failures. Otherwise, the NAP will never be successful. He also pointed that the NAP must be formulated as a ‘living document’, and the stake of the general people must be taken into account properly. Today’s stakeholder dialogue and the data and propositions that have been extracted by CPRD from the regional dialogues can be an important driver. He expected that the Nap formulation process would follow a ‘bottom-up’ approach. He also alluded that, we fervently want a participatory and precise NAP, and all the arrangements have made me optimistic that we are on the right track.

In the speech of special guest, Mr. Atik Rahman said, the NAP process is advancing slowly and the process is likely to end by April, 2022. The formulation and implementation of the NAP must take into consideration the region specific realities. Bangladesh is a littoral country. Hence, the negative impacts of climate change are becoming clearly evident in all the areas of the country. He said, good governance is not merely perceived as reducing corruption, formulation of the right plan at the right time and implementation thereof are also, at the same time, part of good governance. In formulation of the NAP, this must also be taken into consideration— he urged.

As the keynote speaker, Mr. Shamsuddoha said, Bangladesh has already started its activities for formulating the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) aiming at tackling climate change and enhancing the capacity of adaptation actions. He stressed that, in coherence with the UNFCCC guidelines, the process of formulating the NAP must be participatory and transparent, and the plan must be formulated taking into consideration the special risks of the women, indigenous peoples, and communities falling behind, and alongside the risks at local level and the actions required for reducing those risks. If the plan is formulated without the participation of the affected and suffering people and other stakeholders, it will not be able to generate effective contribution— he added. He also invoked to work shying away all the hesitations with regard to participation of all the stakeholders.

Mr. Shamsuddoha also mentioned that one of the major challenges for the developing countries like ours is making sure the proper utilization of the project funds; and this fear remains in case of NAP as well. Hence, at every stage ranging from formulation to implementation of the NAP, participation of the communities suffering, civil society representatives, local government, public representatives, members of parliament, experts, and different stakeholders must be ensured. Alluding that there is a certain limit to adaptation, he said, with regard to reducing carbon emissions as the most effective means to stave off climate change,  Bangladesh must continue its own actions and keep pressurizing the global community. Like the earlier times, also in the process of formulating and implementing the NAP, CPRD will continue presenting the opinions of the people affected and suffering, revealing research results, producing different publications, giving necessary knowledge-based support to the policymakers— he added.

Mr. Dharitri Kumar Sarkar pointed that, challenges of the people of three regions have been brought to the light through the presentations, and all the three regions have distinct attributes. As a member of the implementing authority, I can say, the outcome of this program will be a major support to the NAP formulation process, and I hope, this work will have a reflection in the NAP as well.

Mr. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury mentioned that, there is no scope for Bangladesh to survive without formulating a precise National Adaptation Plan in the light of its geographical realities. He also said that, special attention must be put on whether the NAP document is apt and well-developed. He also stressed on giving importance on indigenous knowledge in formulating the NAP and also on the experiences of the affected communities.

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