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COP26 awaits learning Bangladesh’s experience: Flaherty

Published : 16 Oct 2021 10:46 PM | Updated : 17 Oct 2021 01:45 PM

UN Climate Change Conference COP-26 regional ambassador Ken O’Flaherty has said the Bangladesh knowledge on climate resilience is expected to be a major learning for the world as the next month's convention is set to draw the global leaders in Britain's Glasgow.

Flaherty, the UK-appointed regional ambassador of the supreme decision-making body on climate change for Asia Pacific and South Asia, said Bangladesh has the role in raising ‘strong moral’ voice for the climate vulnerable countries to encourage the entire world in taking action on climate issue.

“The leadership Bangladesh has showing on (climate change) adaption … Bangladesh has a lot to teach the world on building resilience to climate change impact,” Flaherty told BSS in an exclusive interview along with another Bangladeshi news agency.

The COP-26's main host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said he expected the event to be a "turning point for humanity" while Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with other world leaders is set to join it from October 13 and November 12.

The Bangladesh premier currently represents the climate vulnerable countries (CVF) as the chair of Climate Vulnerable Forum while Dhaka by now demanded the worst contributors to climate change pay US$ 500 billion to cover five years from 2020 to 2024 to negate the phenomenon.

The CVF also demanded that half of this amount to be directed to support adaptation activities in the most vulnerable developing countries.

Flaherty appreciated the demand saying that would be "another way for Bangladesh to ensure the voice of the vulnerable countries calling on climate action can be heard”.

Bangladesh earlier proposed a CVF event to be held on the COP-26 sidelines and asked for comments on the proposal the envoy said UK being the COP presidency had noted the suggestion and a consultation process was already underway in that regard.

“We (COP-26) have excellent cooperation with CVF...  I personally very much hope that voice of CVF can be heard during the COP26,” he said adding that currently all proposed sideline events of COP 26 are in the process of approval.

Flaherty said the UK would like to support climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh to get proper access to the international climate financing. 

The envoy said Britain has been working hard to materialize the pledged 100 billion US dollar annual climate fund by encouraging the international donors.

“We are working very hard to encourage the international donor community agency step up further and ensure that 100-billion-dollar goal would meet in Glasgow (during COP 26),” he said.

Flaherty said as the COP 26 president the UK doubled its own climate donation and has been calling the international partners to doing the same.

US President Biden two weeks ago also declared to double the US international climate support while Canada and Germany also indicated enhanced contribution to the climate fund following the footstep of UK, also the current chair of G7.

“As of today, we are not fully in the line with that 100 billion goal, but it is now within touching distance,” Flaherty said.

But, he said, much greater actions were still needed in climate financing from the countries those are primarily responsible in global warming and “I would hope that COP26 will see greater delivery in climate financing”.

Flaherty also acknowledged that the international climate finance must be balanced between mitigation and adaptation while "loss and damage" was the key issue that would be addressed during COP26.

“We have tried to hold practical discussion (on loss and damage) what can be done in the COP 26,” he added.

He said the UK makes its own international climate finance more or less equally balance between mitigation and adaptation and that is something encourage other donors to do so.

Flaherty said the UK has been trying to mobilize international support for Dhaka in transforming Bangladesh’s energy sector from fossil power to renewable clean energy.

He said the region needs regional cooperation in utilizing its hydropower potentials in South Asian nations like in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Britain, the envoy said, was encouraging teamwork among South Asian countries in regional energy cooperation through their diplomatic engagements.

He said there is interest of international community to invest in hydropower sector here but there must be a clear government signal that the companies can get return of their investment. 

The envoy said the UK is working with Bangladesh government to set a clear framework of seeking international investment in transforming its energy sector while London expected Bangladesh not to set up anymore coal fired power plant.

Along with the governments, he said, businesses companies and individuals are also need to set their own ‘Net Zero’ carbon emission targets and joining calls for capping temperatures at 1.5 degrees.

Flaherty has been working with governments, business and civil society across Asia and the Pacific to drive action on climate change ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

He visited Bangladesh from October 12 to 14 as his last tour in South Asia ahead of the COP 26.

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