We have known for over a decade that Bangladesh, the country least responsible for global warming, is first in line to feel the full force of its impacts. For proper utilisation of Climate Funds for facing challenges of climate change impacts, there is a need to prepare a Local Adaptation Plan engaging local peoples including youth. Experts at the workshop underlined the importance of empowering local youths and supporting their potential innovative actions to ensure transparency and accountability on Climate Finance to promote better lifestyle, and to build community resilience under adverse climate change impacts in coastal areas. We need justice and a fair share of climate funds which followed by active participation from stakeholders, and proper implementation on adaptation-mitigation projects including transparency, accountability.
The opinions were exprersed at the concluding ceremony of a daylong training workshop on ‘Innovation Action for Climate Transparency: Engaging Local Youth’ held 21st August at Jahan Conference Center in the city of Barisal. Prof Dr SM Imamul Haque, Vice-Chancellor, University of Barisal, addressed this ceremony, along with Abul Bashar from British Council, Md Abdul Jalil from UNICEF Bangladesh, Roufa Khanum and Rezwan Siddiqui from C3ER, Sohanur Rahman and Shakila Islam of YouthNet. The impact of climate change is one of the biggest threats against human rights, justice and social security in Bangladesh and it is one of the great impediments to achieving the SDGs, they said. The speakers also demanded justice, transparency and accountability in the allotment, distribution and use of climate change funds and a focus on issues.
A total of 36 climate activists from different universities and affected districts participated in the workshop. The Center for Climate Change and Environmental Research of BRAC University, in cooperation with YouthNet for Climate Justice, a youth-led network organization, organized the workshop under the ‘Climate Finance Transparency Mechanism (CFTM)’ project being funded by PROKAS progam, British Council, and UKAid.
Mr Abul Bashar, representative of the British Council, gave a brief background of the CFTM project at the inaugural session of this workshop. Rezwan Siddiqui, Task Manager of C3ER facilitated the workshop as the resource person support with C3ER team. The resource person presented an overview of Climate Finance in Bangladesh and discussed the role of local youth to ensure climate finance transparency.
Then the youth participants were divided in five groups and explored the vulnerabilities of their community and innovative solutions through a climate fund management game. After this participatory group work, in their group presentations, they showed that global warming has been threatening all human rights, especially women and children with social securities in coastal Bangladesh which are designed to prevent destruction of life, health, education, property, livelihood, migration etc. Due to climate change impacts, various diseases are spreading among both the humans and the animals. Climate change is also destroying plants, causing deforestation, and the destruction of water resources and supplies by. They also planned some innovative solutions and adaptation projects at their community level reducing various vulnerabilities and building resilience.
In the concluding session, the prominent social scientist, Prof Dr SM Imamul Haque, Vice-chancellor of the University of Barisal, emphasized how the issues of adaptation to global climate change and its adverse impacts on the agriculture sector must get maximum priority to keep agro-production increasing in order to ensure food and nutrition security. Young people can work to identify the needs of people in coastal regions. They can also contribute to climate smart agriculture by supporting local farmers.
He expressed these views while emphasizing the need for innovation of newer technologies and more salinity tolerance crop varieties and popularizing these among the farmers for cultivation under adverse situations. This is because adverse impacts of climate change on agriculture might severely affect food production in future.
Answering a question of participant, Mr Haque said that there are no ways to protect riverside areas from erosion without embankment. But we should be building this embankment in a climate resilient way and giving early warnings to the targeted people so they can move to safe places.
He also urged the following: “Why we will be questioned for transparency with climate finance? It is shameful for us. Some people are devils, but our nation is not a corrupted nation. We should engage in proper planning, in coordination for the utilization of climate change funds with transparency and accountability. Young people can contribute to this social movement as agents of change”.